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Sir Francis Bacon. 


sX OR 

Counsels Civil and A\oral 


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Henry A\orley. LL. D. i 



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Copyright, 1900, by W. B. Conkey Company. 



Essays— The Last Edition, 1625. 


I. Of Truth 16 

II. ^Of Death 19 

III. Of Unity in Religion 21 

IV. ^Oi Revenge 27 

V. "Of Adversity 29 

VI. , Of Simulation and Dissimulation 30 

VII. Of Parents and Children 34 

VIII. ' Of Marriage and Single Life 36 

IX. Of Envy 38 

X. i Of Love 45 

XI. Of Great Place 47 

XII. Of Boldness 52 

XIII. Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature 54 

XIV. Of Nobility 57 

XV. Of Seditions and Troubles 59 

XVI. Of Atheism 68 

XVII. Of Superstition 71 

XVIII. Of Travel 73 

XIX. Of Empire 76 

XX. Of Counsel 82 

XXI. Of Delays 88 

XXII. Of Cunning 89 

XXIII. Of Wisdom for a Man's Self 94 

XXIV. Of Innovations 96 





































Of Dispatch 98 

Of Seeming Wise 100 

Of Friendship 102 ^ 

Of Expense Ill 

Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms 

and Estates 113 

Of Regimen of Health 125 

Of Suspicion 127 

Of Discourse 129 

Of Plantations 131 

Of Riches 135 

Of Prophecies 139 

Of Ambition 143 

Of Masques and Triumphs 14G 

Of Nature in Men 148 

Of Custom and Education 150 

Of Fortune 152 

Of Usury 154 

Of Youth and Age 159 

Of Beauty 162 

Of Deformity 163 

Of Building 165 

Of Gardens 170 

Of Negotiating. , 240 

Of Followers and Friends. . . 181 

Of Suitors 183 

Of Studies 185 

Of Faction 1S7 

Of Ceremonies and Respects 189 

Of Praise 191 

Of Vain Glory 193 

Of Honor and Reputation 195 

Of Judicature 198 



LVII. Of Anger 203 

LVIII. Of Vicissitude of Things 206 

A Fragment of an Essay of Fame 213 

An Essay of a King 215 

On Death 218 

Essays—The First Edition, 1597. 

I. ^Of Studies 229 

II. Of Discourse 230 

III. Of Ceremonies and Respects 231 

IV. Of Followers and Friends 232 

V. Of Suitors 234 

VI. Of Expense 235 

VII. Of Regimen of Health 236 

VIII. Of Honor and Reputation 237 

IX. Of Faction 239 

X. Of Negotiating 240 

The Wisdom of the Ancients— A Series of Mythological 


Preface 245 

I. Cassandra, or Divination 251 

II. Typhon, or a Rebel 252 

III. The Cyclops, or the Ministers of Terror 255 

I Vc Narcissus, or Self- Love 257 

V. The River Styx, or Leagues 258 

VIo Pan, or Nature 260 

VII. Perseus, or War 270 

VIIIc Endymion, or a Favorite 274 

IX. The Sister of the Giants, or Fame 276 

X. Acteon and Pantheus, or a Curious Man 277 

XL Orpheus, or Philosophy 278 

XIIo Ccelum, or Beginnings 282 

XIII. Proteus, or Matter 285 


Francis Bacon was born three years before 
Shakespeare, on the 2 2d of January, 1561, and 
died ten years after Shakespeare, on the 9th of 
April, 1626. Shakespeare's age when he died 
was fifty-two, and Bacon's sixty-five. The 
two men were the greatest births of their own 
time. One glanced "from heaven to earth, 
from earth to heaven" as a poet. The other 
taught men to look abroad into God's world, 
and by patient experiment to find their way 
from outward signs to knowledge of the inner 
working of those laws of Nature which are 
fixed energies appointed by the wisdom of the 
Creator as sources of all that we see and use. 
As the working of each law is discovered, 
Bacon would have the searcher next look for 
its applications to the well-being of man. 

Sir William Cecil, afterward Lord Burleigh, 
and Sir Nicholas Bacon, Queen Elizabeth's 
Lord Keeper, married two daughters of Sir 
Anthony Cooke. Anne Cooke was the second 
wife of Sir Nicholas, who had six children by 
a former marriage. His second wife had two 
sons, Anthony and Francis. Francis was thus 
the youngest in a family of eight, living some- 
times in London, at York House, and some- 



times at Gorhambury, near St. Albans. In 
April, 1573, Francis Bacon, twelve years old, 
entered with his elder brother Anthony, as 
fellow-commoner, at Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge. He left Cambridge after about four 
years' study there. 

At Cambridge he felt the fruitlessness of 
those teachings in philosophy which bade him 
get clear understanding by beating the bounds 
of his own brain. This was a philosophy, he 
used to say, only strong for disputations and 
contentions, but barren of the production of 
works for the benefit of the life of man. The 
desire to turn philosophic thought into a more 
useful course became strong in him even then. 

He was to be trained for the service of the 
State, and after leaving Cambridge, at sixteen, 
went in the suite of an ambassador to Paris. 
But while he was in France his father died, 
before he had made the provision he designed 
for his sons by the second marriage. Bacon 
then, at the age of eighteen, came to London 
to prepare for earning by the practice of the 
law. He became a barrister in June, 1582. 
He entered the House of Commons in Novem- 
ber, 1584, as member for Melcombe Regis, in 
Dorsetshire. He sat for Taunton in the Par- 
liament that met in October, 1586, and was 
among those who petitioned for the execution 
of Mary Queen of Scots. He sat next for 
Liverpool, and in October, 1589, obtained by 
his Court interest the reversion to the office of 
Clerk of the Council in the Star Chamber, 
which was of great money value ; but it did 


not become vacant for him until 1608. He 
was member for Middlesex in the Parliament 
that met in 1593, and piqued the Queen by- 
raising constitutional objections to her manner 
of asking a subsidy to meet the cost of provid- 
ing against dangers from the Catholic Powers. 
Anthony and Francis Bacon were then both 
looking for patronage to the young Earl of 
Essex, who was six years younger than Fran- 
cis, impetuous, generous, and in favor with the 
Queen. Bacon, thirty-three years old, sought 
advance in his profession to the office of 
Attorney-General. The Queen gave it to Sir 
Edward Coke, who was already Solicitor- 
General, was nine years older than Bacon, and 
could not fairly have been set aside for one 
who was so much his junior at the bar. Suit 
was then made on Bacon's behalf for the office 
of Solicitor-General, but after months of delay 
it was given, in November, 1595, to another 
man. Bacon felt that the Queen was still 
offended by his action in the matter of the 
subsidy. Essex said that the refusal of his 
client was meant by the Queen as an insult to 
himself, and that Bacon must accept from him 
a piece of land as amends for the disappoint- 
ment. So Bacon took the piece of land, since 
known as Twickenham Park; he sold it after- 
ward for eighteen hundred pounds. It was 
worth, therefore, about twelve thousand in 
modern value. In taking it, he said afterward 
that he explicitly guarded himself against 
owing on account of it any service to his pat- 
ron that might traverse his dut}^ to his Oueen. 

2 Bacon "" 


Essex entered into correspondence with James 
VI. of Scotland by cipher, through the agency 
of Anthony Bacon, in the matter of the succes- 
sion to the throne; and Francis Bacon could 
not have been ignorant of this. 

In 1597, Bacon, wanting money, sought to 
marry the rich young widow of Sir William 
Hat ton. She was married in November, 1598, 
to Sir Edward Coke. It was at this time, in 
1597 — in the thirty- seventh year of his life — 
that Bacon published the first edition of his 
44 Essays. " It was a little book, containing only 
the ten Essays which will be found in the first 
section of the present volume. They deal only 
with man's relation to this world, but the vol- 
ume did not exclude the religious side of life, 
for that was added in twelve more essays, 
44 Religious Meditations," written in Latin, on 
such subjects as 44 The Works of God and 
Man," 44 The Miracles of Our Savior," 
44 Earthly Hope," "The Exaltation of Char- 
ity," 44 Atheism," t4 Heresies," 44 The Church 
of the Scriptures." The ten English Essays, 
it will be observed, have a significant order. 
They begin with man alone, using his mind — 
44 Of Study;" then comes relation to the minds 
and lives of others — 44 Of Discourse," 44 0f Cer- 
emonies and Respects," 44 Of Followers and 
Friends;" 44 Of Suitors;" then personal re- 
lation to the means of living — 44 Of Expense," 
44 Of Regimen of Health;" and then relation to 
the world at large and to affairs of State — 44 Of 
Honor and Reputation," 44 Of Faction," 44 Of 
Negotiating." That is all. Upon each theme 


Bacon's conception of an essay was in accord- 
ance with the original meaning of the word, 
which makes it equivalent with 4< assay. " 
The same analytical method that, in deal- 
ing with outward Nature, would seek to re- 
solve knowledge of all things into knowl- 
edge of their elements, for study of the 
principles upon which they can be recombined 
for the advancement of the general well- 
being, was in the Essays applied to observed 
conditions of the inner life of man. Bacon's 
philosophical writings and his Essays are two 
parts of the same whole ; one dealing with the 
world outside us, and the other with the world 
within. Bacon was at this time warning the 
Earl of Essex of a danger before him, and 
applying counsels, civil and moral, to the par- 
ticular case of his patron as remedy for 4i a cold 
and malignant humor growing upon Her 
Majesty toward your lordship." There was a 
very shrewd analytical letter written to Essex 
in October, 1596. One recommendation was 
44 that your lordship should never be without 
some particulars afoot, which you should seem 
to pursue with earnestness and affection, and 
then let them fall, upon taking knowledge of 
Her Majesty's opposition and dislike." 
Among minor devices of this kind he suggested 
4 'the pretence of some journeys, which, at Her 
Majesty's request, your lordship might relin- 
quish ; as if you would pretend a journey to 
see your living and estate toward Wales, or 
the like ; for as for great foreign journeys of 
employment and service, it standeth not with 


your gravity to play or stratagem with them. 
And the lightest sort of particulars, which yet 
are not to be neglected, are in your habits, 
apparel, wearings, gestures, and the like. " In 
March, 1599, Essex left London as Lord Dep- 
uty of Ireland, meaning great things; and 
again he had received lessons of life in a letter 
from Bacon. In September he accepted an 
armistice and entertained conditions of peace 
from Tyrone, that might have been dictated 
by a conqueror. The Queen was displeased. 
Essex hurried back to her, Tyrone rebelled 
again, and Essex was replaced by a more 
vigorous Lord Deputy. In February, 1601, 
tlie rash counsels of Essex led him to an overt 
act of rebellion. He was then lodged in the 
Tower, and on trial for his life. Bacon, then 
Queen's Counsel, though engaged in the prose- 
cution, was not officially called upon to speak, 
when twice, during the trial, he rose to show 
his zeal for the Crown by violence against the 
traitor. Once in that way he coupled Essex 
with Cain; another time he rose and said, 
"I have never yet seen in any case such favor 
shown to any prisoner; so many digressions, 
such delivering of evidence by fractions, and 
so silly a defense of such great and notorious 
treasons." On the 25th of February, 1601, 
Essex was beheaded within the Tower; and it 
was the keen intellect of Bacon that was em- 
ployed afterward by the Government in draw- 
ing up "A Declaration of the Practices and 
Treasons attempted and committed by 
Robert, late Earl of Essex, and his Complices. " 


Bacon had, thus experimented, prudently and 
honestly, as he believed, toward the full 
recovery of the Queen's favor. The Queen 
died on the 24th of March, 1603, but if she had 
lived, Bacon's experiment would hardly have 

Bacon's Essays disclose to us counsels of 
life by a man of the rarest intellect, with 
weight of thought in every sentence. But in 
his own life Bacon proved himself wanting, 
just where he is found wanting in his Essays. 
Life is directed best by those who allow due 
influence to each of its elements in man — the 
will, the intellect, and the emotions; and 
Bacon's failures both as actor in life and as 
interpreter of action may depend chiefly, as 
Dr. Kuno Fischer has suggested, upon undue 
predominance of the intellectual over the 
emotional part of a man's nature. Its imper- 
fection in himself made it also less easy for him 
to understand its operation in the minds of 
others. Bacon was not, what no being upon 
earth can be, as Pope called him, "the wisest, 
brightest, meanest of mankind;" he never 
consciously said to himself, "evil, be thou my 
good." Emotion being out of place in philo- 
sophical researches into Nature, Bacon's 
inductive philosophy went straight to its aim 
when he endeavored to guide men's minds 
into the one way of profitable research. But 
the modifications of man's speech and actions 
that are due to the just influence of feeling are 
so far essential to the right conduct of life that 
whoever wants or avoids the prompting to 


them cannot live long without blundering 
very gravely more than once, as Bacon did. 
He was well read in Machiavelli, whose keen 
intellect he appreciated; indeed, from the fifth 
chapter of the second book of Machiavelli 's 
4 'Discourses upon Livy" Bacon took suggestion 
of his essay of "Vicissitudes of Things." 
There is a touch of Machiavelli often in Ba- 
con's counsels of life; they are all wise, but 
they are not the whole abstract of worldly 
wisdom, and sometimes, not often, they sink 
where they should rise. 

Bacon kept his first little book of Essays by 
him, adding, altering, and writing more as 
inclination or occasion prompted. Under 
James I. he prospered rapidly. The books in 
which he developed his method of research 
into Nature — his philosophy — appeared from 
time to time. He rose to the head of his pro- 
fession. In the year of Shakespeare's death, 
Bacon was made a Privy Councilor. In 
March, 1617, he became Lord-Keeper. In 
January, 16 18, he became Lord-Chancelor; in 
July he became Baron Verulam ; in October, 
1620, he produced what we have of the chief 
work in his philosophical series, the "Novum 
Organum;" on the 27th of January, 162 1, he 
was made Viscount St. Albans, and touched 
the highest point of all his greatness. On the 
3d of May in the same year he was sentenced, 
upon twenty-three specified charges of cor- 
ruption, admitted by himself, to a fine of forty 
thousand pounds, which the King remitted; to 
be committed to the Tower during the King's 


pleasure, and he was released next day; 
thenceforth to be incapable of holding any 
office in the State, or sitting in Parliament. It 
was decided by majority of two that he should 
not be stripped of his titles. There remained 
to him five years of life, and in these he with- 
drew from all strife of the world, closing his 
life in peace. During all these years he had 
been embodying his counsels of life in his 
"Essays." They had increased in number 
from ten to thirty-eight when he produced an 
edition of them in 1612 ; and in his last edition 
of them, that was issued as "newly written "in 
the year before his death, the number had 
risen to fifty-eight. That is their final form, 
as given in the second section of the present 

Real literature has for one of its qualities 
that it deals with the essentials of life. It is, 
therefore, not addressed to a select company 
of critics, but to all who live. Every true 
book that has really a place in literature speaks 
to every mind that has been awakened to a 
consciousness of interests beyond those of the 
flesh. If it be said that Bacon's Essays are 
mere literature and caviare to the general, 
let it be replied that, being absolutely litera- 
ture, they are absolutely life — life, that is the 
dearest interest of each of us, as one of the 
acutest of men sought to interpret it ; and have 
we not our own experience of life to measure 
with it as we read? 


November, 1883. 



What is truth? said jesting Pilate ; and would 
not stay for an answer. Certainly there be 
that delight in giddiness; and count it a bond- 
age to fix a belief; affecting free-will in think- 
ing, as well as in acting. And though the sects 
of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there 
remain certain discoursing wits, which are of 
the same veins, though there be not so much 
blood in them as was in those of the ancients. 
But it is not only the difficulty and labor which 
men take in finding out of truth ; nor again, 
that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's 
thoughts, that doth bring lives in favor; but a 
natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. 
One of the later schools of the Grecians exam- 
ineth the matter, and is at a stand to think 
what should be in it, that men should love lies; 
where neither they make for pleasure, as with 
poets; nor for advantage, as with the mer- 
chant, but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell : 
this same truth is a naked and open daylight, 
that doth not show the masks, and mummer- 
ies, and triumphs of the world, half so stately 
and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may per- 



haps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth 
best by day, but it will not rise to the price of 
a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in 
varied light. A mixture of a lie doth ever 
add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if 
there were taken out of men's minds vain 
opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, 
imaginations as one would, and the like, but it 
would leave the minds of a number of men 
poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and 
indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? 
One of the fathers, in great severity, called 
poesy "vinum daemonum," because it filleth 
the imagination and yet it is but with the shad- 
ow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth 
through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, 
and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as 
we spake of before. But howsoever, these 
things are thus in men's depraved judgments 
and affections, yet truth, which only doth 
judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth, 
which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the 
knowledge of truth, which is the presence of 
it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoy- 
ing of it, is the sovereign good of human 
nature. The first creature of God, in the works 
of the days, was the light of the sense: the 
last was the light of reason : and his Sabbath 
work ever since is the illumination of his 
Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face 
of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light 
into the face of man; and still he breathed and 
inspired light into the face of his chosen. The 
poet that beautified the sect, that was other- 

2 Bacon's 


wise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently 
well: "It is a pleasure to stand upon the 
shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a 
pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, 
and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof 
below : but no pleasure is comparable to the 
standing upon the vantage ground of truth" (a 
hill not to be commanded, and where the air is 
always clear and serene), "and to see the 
errors, and wanderings, and mists, and temp- 
ests, in the vale below:" so always that this 
prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or 
pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to 
have a man's mind move in charity, rest in 
providence, and turn upon the poles of truth. 
To pass from theological and philosophical 
truth to the truth of civil business; it will be 
acknowledged even by those that practice it 
not, that clear and round dealing is the honor 
of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood 
is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which 
may make the metal work the better, but it 
embaseth it. For these winding and crooked 
courses are the goings of the serpent; which 
goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the 
feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a 
man with shame as to be found false and per- 
fidious; and therefore Montaigne saith pret- 
tily, when he inquired the reason why the word 
of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such 
an odious charge, saith he, "If it be well 
weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as 
to say that he is brave toward God and a 
coward toward men. For a lie faces God, and 


shrinks from man;" surely the wickedness of 
falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly 
be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be 
the last peal to call the judgments of God upon 
the generations of men: it being foretold, 
that, when "Christ cometh," he shall not "find 
faith upon the earth. ' ' 


Men fear death as children fear to go in the 
dark ; and as that natural fear in children is 
increased with tales, so is the other. Cer- 
tainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages 
of sin, and passage to another world, is holy 
and religious ; but the fear of it, as a tribute 
due unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious 
meditations there is sometimes mixture of 
vanity and of superstition. You shall read in 
some of the friars' books of mortification, that 
a man should think with himself, what the pain 
is, if he have but his finger's end pressed or 
tortured; and thereby imagine what the pains 
of death are, when the whole body is corrupted 
and dissolved; when many times death passeth 
with less pain than the torture of a limb ; for 
the most vital parts are not the quickest of 
sense. And by him that spake only as a phi- 
losopher, and natural man, it was well said, 
"Pompa mortis magis terret quam mors ipsa." 
Groans and convulsions, and a discolored 
face, and friends weeping, and blacks and 
obsequies, and the like, show death terrible. 
It is worthy the observing, that there is no 


passion in the mind of man so weak, but it 
mates and masters the fear of death; and 
therefore death is no such terrible enemy 
when a man hath so many attendants about 
him that can win the combat of him. Revenge 
triumphs over death; love slights it; honor 
aspire th to it ; grief flieth to it ; fear pre-occu- 
pateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor 
has slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest 
of affections) provoked many to die out of 
mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the 
truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds, 
niceness and satiety: "Cogita quamdiu 
eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantum fortis, 
aut miser, sed etiam f astidiosus potest. ' ' A 
man would die, though he were neither valiant 
nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the 
same thing so oft over and over. It is no less 
worthy to observe, how little alteration in good 
spirits the approaches of death make : for they 
appear to be the same men till the last instant. 
Augustus Caesar died in a compliment ; "Li via, 
conjugii nostri memor, vive et vale. " Tiber- 
ius in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, 
"Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non-dissimu- 
latio, deserebant:" Vespasian in a jest, sitting 
upon the stool, "Ut puto Deus fio:" Galba 
with a sentence, "Feri, si ex re sit populi 
Romani, " holding forth his neck: Septimus 
Severus in dispatch, "Adeste, si quid mihi 
restat agendum/' and the like. Certainly the 
Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and 
by their great preparations made it appear 
more fearful. Better, saith he "qui finem 


vitss extremum inter munera ponit naturae. " 
It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a 
little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as 
the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, 
is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, 
for the time, scarce feels the hurt ; and there- 
fore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that 
is good, doth avert* the dolors of death; but, 
above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is 
"Nunc dimittis, " when a man hath obtained 
worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this 
also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, 
and extinguisheth envy; "Extinctus amabitur 


Religion being the chief band of human 
society, it is a happy thing when itself is well 
contained within the true band of unity. The 
quarrels and divisions about religion were evils 
unknown to the heathen. The reason was, 
because the religion of the heathen consisted 
rather in rites and ceremonies, than in any con- 
stant belief ; for you may imagine what kind 
of faith theirs was, when the chief doctors and 
fathers of their church were the poets. But 
the true God hath this attribute, that he is a 
jealous God; and therefore his worship and 
religion will endure no mixture nor partner. 
We shall therefore speak a few words concern- 
ing the unity of the church; what are the 
fruits thereof; what the bounds; and what the 

The fruits of unity (next unto the well- 


pleasing of God, which is all in all) are two ; 
the one toward those that are without the 
church, the other toward that are within. 
For the former, it is certain, that heresies and 
schisms are of all others the greatest scandals ; 
yea, more than corruption of manners: for as 
in the natural body a wound or solution of 
continuity is worse than a corrupt humor, so 
in the spiritual ; so that nothing doth so much 
keep men out of the church, and drive men 
out of the church, as breach of unity; and 
therefore whensoever it cometh to that pass 
that one saith, "Ecce in Deserto, " another 
saith, "Ecce in penetralibus;" that is, when 
some men seek Christ in the conventicles of 
heretics, and others in an outward face of a 
church, that voice had need continually to 
sound in men's ears, "nolite exire, M — "go not 
out. " The doctor of the Gentiles (the propri- 
ety of whose vocation drew him to have a 
special care of those without) saith, "If a 
heathen come in, and hear you speak with sev- 
eral tongues, will he not say that you are 
mad?" and, certainly, it is little better: when 
atheists and profane persons do hear of so 
many discordant and contrary opinions in 
religion, it doth avert them from the church, 
and maketh them "to sit down in the chair of 
the scorners. " It is but alight thing to be 
vouched in so serious matter, but yet it 
expresseth well the deformity. There is a 
master of scoffing that in his catalogue of books 
of a feigned library sets down this title of a 
book, "The Morris-Dance of Heretics:" for, 


indeed, every sect of them hath a diverse 
posture, or cringe, by themselves, which can- 
not but move derision in worldlings and 
depraved politicians, who are apt to contemn 
holy things. 

As for the fruit toward those that are with- 
in, it is peace, which containeth infinite bless- 
ings; it establisheth faith; it kindleth charity; 
the outward peace of the church distilleth into 
peace of conscience, and it turneth the labors 
of writing and reading of controversies into 
treatises of mortification and devotion. 

Concerning the bounds of unity, the true 
placing of them importeth exceedingly. 
There appear to be two extremes: for to cer- 
tain zealots all speech of pacification is odious. 
44 Is it peace, Jehu?"— " What hast thou to do 
with peace? turn thee behind me." Peace is 
not the matter, but following and party. Con- 
trariwise, certain Laodiceans and lukewarm 
persons think they may accommodate points 
of religion by middle ways, and taking part of 
both, and witty reconcilements, as if they 
would make an arbitrament between God and 
man. Both these extremes are to be avoided; 
which will be done if the league of Christians, 
penned by our Savior himself, were in the 
two cross clauses thereof soundly and plainly 
expounded: "He that is not with us is against 
us;" and again, "He that is not against us is 
with us;" that is, if the points fundamental 
and of substance in religion, were truly dis- 
cerned and distinguished from points not 
merely of faith, but of opinion, order, or good 


intention. This is a thing may seem to many 
a matter, trivial, and done already; but if it 
were done less partially, it would be embraced 
more generally. 

Of this I may give only this advice, accord- 
ing to my small model. Men ought to take 
heed of rending God's church by two kinds of 
controversies; the one is, when the matter of 
the point controverted is too small and light, 
not worth the heat and strife about it, kindled 
only by contradiction; for, as it is noted by one 
of the fathers, "Christ's coat indeed had no 
seam, but the church's vesture was of divers 
colors;" whereupon he saith, "In veste vari- 
etas sit, scissura non sit," they be two things, 
unity and uniformity; the other is, when the 
matter of the point controverted is great, but 
it ■ is driven to an over-great subtilty and 
obscurity, so that it becometh a thing rather 
ingenious than substantial. A man that is of 
judgment and understanding shall sometimes 
hear ignorant men differ, and know well within 
himself, that those which so differ mean one 
thing, and yet they themselves would never 
agree ; and if it come so to pass in that dis- 
tance of judgment, which is between man and 
man, shall we not think that God above, that 
knows the heart, doth not discern that frail 
men, in some of their contradictions, intend 
the same thing; and accepteth of both? The 
nature of such controversies is excellently 
expressed by St. Paul, in the warning and pre- 
cept that he giveth concerning the same; 
"Devita profanas vocum novitates, et opposi- 


tiones falsi nominis scientiae " Men create 
oppositions which are not, and put them into 
new terms, so fixed as, whereas the meaning 
ought to govern the term, the term in effect 
governeth the meaning. There be also two 
false peaces, or unities; the one, when the 
peace is grounded but upon an implicit ignor- 
ance : for all colors will' agree in the dark : the 
other, when it is pieced up upon a direct 
admission of contraries in fundamental points : 
for truth and falsehood, in such things, are 
like the iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchad- 
nezzar's image; they may cleave, but they will 
not incorporate. 

Concerning the means of procuring unity, 
men must beware that, in the procuring or 
muniting of religious unity, they do not dis- 
solve and deface the laws of charity and of 
human society. There be two swords amongst 
Christians, the spiritual and temporal; and 
both have their due office and place in the 
maintenance of religion : but we may not take 
up the third sword, which is Mahomet's sword, 
or like unto it : that is, to propagate religion 
by wars, or by sanguinary persecutions to force 
consciences; except it be in cases of overt 
scandal, blasphemy, or intermixture of practice 
against the state ; much less to nourish sedi- 
tions; to authorize conspiracies and rebellions; 
to put the sword into the people's hands, and 
the like, tending to the subversion of all gov- 
ernment, which is the ordinance of God; for 
this is but to dash the first table against the 
second ; and so to consider men as Christians. 


as we forget that they are men. Lucretius 
the poet, when he beheld the act of Agamem- 
non, that could endure the sacrificing of his 
own daughter, exclaimed: 

"Tan turn religio potuit sua dere malonim." 

What would he have said, if he had known of 
the massacre in France, or the powder treason 
of England? He would have been seven times 
more epicure and atheist than he was; for as 
the temporal sword is to be drawn with great 
circumspection in cases of religion, so it is a 
thing monstrous to put it into the hands of the 
common people; let that be left unto the 
Anabaptists, and other furies. It was great 
blasphemy, when the devil said, "I will ascend 
and be like the Highest ;" but it is greater 
blasphemy to personate God, and bring him in 
saying, lw I will descend, and be like the prince 
of darkness; and what is it better, to make the 
cause of religion to descend to the cruel and 
execrable actions of murdering princes, butch- 
ery of people, and subversion of states and 
governments? Surely this is to bring down 
the Holy Ghost, instead of the likeness of a 
dove, in the shape of a vulture or raven ; and 
to set out of the bark of a Christian church a 
flag of a bark of pirates and assassins ; there- 
fore it is most necessary that the church by 
doctrine and decree, princes by their sword, 
and all learnings, both Christian and moral, as 
by their Mercury rod, do damn, and send to 
hell forever those facts and opinions tending to 
the support of the same ; as hath been already 


in good part done. Surely in councils concern- 
ing religion, that counsel of the apostle would 
be prefixed, "Ira hominis non implet justitiam 
Dei:" and it was a notable observation of a 
wise father, and no less ingenuously confessed, 
that those which held and persuaded pressure 
of consciences were commonly interested 
therein themselves for their own ends. 


Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the 
more man's nature runs to, the more ought 
law to weed it out: for as for the first wrong, 
it doth but offend the law, but the revenge of 
that wrong putteth the law out of office. Cer- 
tainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even 
with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is 
superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon: 
and Solomon, I am sure, saith, "It is the glory 
of a man to pass by an offense. " That which 
is past is gone and irrevocable, and wise men 
have enough to do with things present and to 
come; therefore they do but trifle with them- 
selves that labor in past matters. There is no 
man doth a wrong for the w T rong's sake, but 
thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, 
or honor, or the like ; therefore why should I 
be angry with a man for loving himself better 
than me? And if any man should do wrong 
merely out of ill-nature, why yet it is but like 
the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, 
because they can do no other. The most tol- 
erable sort of revenge is for those wrongs 


which there is no law to remedy ; but then, let 
a man take heed the revenge be such as there 
is no law to punish, else a man's enemy is still 
beforehand, and it is two for one. Some, when 
they take revenge, are desirous the party should 
know whence it cometh : this is the more gen- 
erous; for the delight seemeth to be not so 
much in doing the hurt as in making the party 
repent : but base and crafty cowards are like 
the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus, 
Duke of Florence, had a desperate saying 
against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if 
those wrongs were unpardonable. "You shall 
read," saith he, "that we are commanded to 
forgive our enemies ; but you never read that 
we are commanded to forgive our friends. ' ' 
But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: 
"Shall we," saith he, "take good at God's 
hands, and not be content to take evil also?" 
and so of friends in a proportion. This is cer- 
tain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps 
his own wounds green, which otherwise would 
heal and do well. Public revenges are for the 
most part fortunate ; as that for the death of 
Caesar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death 
of Henry the Third of France; and many more. 
But in private revenges it is not so; nay, rather 
vindictive persons live the life of witches : who, 
as they are mischievous, so end they unfor- 



It was a high speech of Seneca (after the 
manner of the Stoics), that, "the good things 
which belong to prosperity are to be wished, 
but the good things that belong to adversity 
are to be admired." ("Bona rerum secund- 
arum optabilia, adversarum mirabilia. ") Cer- 
tainly, if miracles be the command over nature, 
they appear most in adversity. It is yet a 
higher speech of his than the other (much too 
high for a heathen). "It is true greatness to 
have in one the frailty of a man, and the secur- 
ity of a god. " ("Vere magnum habere fragil- 
itatem hominis, securitatem Dei.") This 
would have done better in poesy, where trans- 
cendencies are more allowed; and the poets, 
indeed, have been busy with it; for it is in 
effect the thing which is figured in that strange 
fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not 
to be without mystery; nay and to have some 
approach to the state of a Christian, "that Her- 
cules, when he went to unbind Prometheus 
(by whom human nature is represented), sailed 
the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot 
or pitcher,* ' lively describing Christian resolu- 
tion, that saileth in the frail bark of the flesh 
through the waves of the world. But to speak 
in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temper- 
ance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which 
in morals is the more heroical virtue. Pros- 
perity is the blessing of the Old Testament, 
adversity is the blessing of the New, which 
carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer 


revelation of God's favor. Yet even in the Old 
Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you 
shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols ; 
and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored 
more in describing the afflictions of Job than 
the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not 
without many fears and distastes; and advers- 
ity is not without comforts and hopes. We see 
in needle- works and embroideries, it is more 
pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and 
solemn ground, than to have a dark and mel- 
ancholy work upon a lightsome ground: judge 
therefore, of the pleasure of the heart by the 
pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like 
precious odors, most fragrant when they are 
incensed, or crushed : for prosperity doth best 
discover vice, but adversity doth best discover 


Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy, 
of wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit and a 
strong heart to know when to tell truth, and 
to do it: therefore it is the weaker sort of 
politicians that are the great dissemblers. 

Tacitus saith, "Li via sorted well with the 
arts of her husband, and dissimulation of her 
son ; attributing arts or policy to Augustus, and 
dissimulation to Tiberius:" and again, when 
Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to take arms 
against Vitellius, he saith, "We rise not 
against the piercing judgment of Augustus, 


nor the extreme caution or closeness of Ti- 
berius. " These properties of arts or policy, and 
dissimulation or closeness, are indeed habits 
and faculties several, and to be distinguished; 
for if a man have that penetration of judgment 
as he can discern what things are to be laid 
open, and what to be secreted, and what to 
be showed at half-lights, and to whom and 
when (which indeed are arts of state, and arts 
of life, as Tacitus well calleth them), to him a 
habit of dissimulation is a hindrance and a 
poorness. But if a man cannot attain to that 
judgment, then it is left to him generally to be 
close, and a dissembler: for where a man can- 
not choose or vary in particulars, there it is good 
to take the safest and wariest way in general, 
like the going softly, by one that cannot well 
see. Certainly, the ablest men that ever were, 
have had all an openness and frankness of deal- 
ing, and a name of certainty and veracity: but 
then they were like horses well managed, for 
they could tell passing well when to stop or 
turn ; and at such times when they thought the 
case indeed required dissimulation, if then they 
used it, it came to pass that the former opinion 
spread abroad, of their good faith and clearness 
of dealing, made them almost invisible. 

There be three degrees of this hiding and 
veiling of a man's Self: the first, closeness, 
reservation, and secrecy ; when a man leaveth 
himself without observation, or without hold 
to be taken, what he is: the second, dissimula- 
tion in the negative; when a man lets fall signs 
and arguments, that he is not that he is: and 


the third, simulation in the affirmative; when 
a man industriously and expressly feigns and 
pretends to be that he is not. 

For the first of these, secrecy, it is indeed the 
virtue of a confessor; and assuredly the secret- 
man heareth many confessions; for who will 
open himself to a blab or a babbler? But if a 
man be thought secret, it inviteth discovery, as 
the more close air sucketh in the more open ; 
and, as in confession, the revealing is not for 
worldly use, but for the ease of a man's heart, 
• so secret men come to the knowledge of many 
hings in that kind; while men rather dis- 
charge their minds than impart their minds. 
In few words, mysteries are due to secrecy. 
Besides (to say truth), nakedness is uncomely, 
as well in mind as body ; and it addeth no 
small reverence to men's manners and actions, 
if they be not altogether open. As for talkers, 
and futile persons, they are commonly vain and 
credulous withal: for he that talketh what he 
knoweth, will also talk what he knoweth not; 
therefore set it down, that a habit of secrecy 
is both politic and moral: and in this part it is 
good that a man's face give his tongue leave to 
speak; for the discovery of a man's self, by the 
tracts of his countenance, is a great weakness 
and betraying, by how much it is many times 
more marked and believed than a man's word. 

For the second, which is dissimulation, it J "ol- 
io weth many times upon secrecy by a neces- 
sity; so that he that will be secret must be a 
dissembler in some degree; for men are too 
cunning to suffer a man to keep an indifferent 


carriage between both, and to be secret, with- 
out swaying the balance on either side. They 
will so beset a man with questions, and draw 
him on, and pick it out of him, that without an 
absurd silence, he must show an inclination 
oneway; or if he do not, they will gather as 
much by his silence as by his speech. As for 
equivocations, or oraculous speeches, they can- 
not hold out long: so that no man can be 
secret, except he give himself a little scope c £ 
dissimulation, which is, as it were, but th 
skirts or train of secrecy. 

But for the third degree, which is simulation 
and false profession, that I hold more culpable, 
and less politic, except it be in great and rare 
matters: and, therefore, a general custom of 
simulation (which is this last degree) is a vice 
rising either of a natural falseness, or fearful- 
ness, or of a mind that hath some main faults; 
which, because a man must needs disguise, it 
maketh him practice simulation in other things, 
lest his hand should be out of use. 

The advantages of simulation and dissimula- 
tion are three: first, to lay asleep opposition, 
and to surprise; for where a man's intentions 
are published, it is an alarm to call up all that 
are against them: the second is, to reserve to 
a man's self a fair retreat; for if a man engage 
himself by a manifest declaration, he must go 
through, or take a fall: the third is, the better 
to discover the mind of another; for to him 
that opens himself men will hardly show them- 
selves adverse ; but will (fair) let him go on, 
and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of 

3 Bacon 


thought; and therefore it is a good shrewd 
proverb of the Spaniards, "Tell a lie and find 
a troth;" as if there were no way of discovery 
by simulation. There be also three disadvant- 
ages to set it even ; the first, that simulation 
and dissimulation commonly carry with them a 
show of fearfulness, which, in any business 
doth spoil the feathers of round flying up to 
the mark; the second, that it puzzleth and 
perplexeth the conceits of many, that, perhaps, 
would otherwise co-operate with him, and 
makes a man walk almost alone to his own 
ends; the third, and greatest, is, that it 
depriveth a man of one of the most principal 
instruments for action, which is trust and 
belief. The best composition and tempera- 
ture is, to have openness in fame and opinion; 
secrecy in habit; dissimulation in seasonable 
use; and a power to feign if there be no 


The joys of parents are secret and so are 
their griefs and fears; they cannot utter the 
one, nor they will not utter the other. Chil- 
dren sweeten labors, but they make misfor- 
tunes more bitter; they increase the cares of 
life, but they mitigate the remembrance of 
death. The perpetuity by generation is com- 
mon to beasts ; but memory, merit, and noble 
works, are proper to men : and surely a man 
shall see the noblest works and foundations 
have proceeded from childless men, which have 


sought to express the images of their minds 
where those of their bodies have failed; so the 
care of posterity is most in them that have no 
posterity. . They that are the first raisers of 
their houses are most indulgent toward their 
children, beholding them as the continuance, 
not only of their kind, but of their work ; and 
so both children and creatures. 

The difference in affection of parents toward 
their several children is many times un- 
equal, and sometimes unworthy, especially in 
the mother; as Solomon saith, "A wise son 
rejoiceth the father, but an ungracious son 
shames the mother. M A man shall see, where 
there is a house full of children, one or two of 
the eldest respected, and the youngest made 
wantons; but in the midst some that are as it 
were forgotten, who, many times, neverthe- 
less, prove the^ best. The illiberality of 
parents, in allowance toward their children, 
is a harmful error, makes them base, acquaints 
them with shifts, makes them sort with mean 
company, and makes them surfeit more when 
they come to plenty: and, therefore, the proof 
is best when men keep their authority toward 
their children, but not their purse. Men have 
a foolish manner (both parents, and school- 
masters, and servants), in creating and breed- 
ing an emulation between brothers during 
childhood, which many times sorteth to discord 
when they are men, and disturbeth families. 
The Italians make little difference between 
children and nephews, or near kinsfolk; but 
so they be of the lump, they care not, though 


they pass not through their own body; and, to 
say truth, in nature it is much a like matter; 
insomuch that we see a nephew sometimes re- 
sembleth an uncle or a kinsman, more than 
his own parent, as the blood happens. Let 
parents choose betimes the vocations and 
courses they mean their children should take, 
for then they are most flexible, and let them 
not too much apply themselves to the disposi- 
tion of their children, as thinking they will take 
best to that which they have most mind to. 
It is true, that if the affection, or aptness of 
the children be extraordinary, then it is good 
not to cross it; but generally the precept is 
good, "Optimum, elige, suave et facile illud faciet 
consuetude 1 " Younger brothers are commonly 
fortunate, but seldom or never where the elder 
are disinherited. 


He that hath wife and children hath given 
hostages to fortune; for they are impediments 
to great enterprises, either of virtue or mis- 
chief. Certainly the best works, and of great- 
est merit for the public, have proceeded from 
the unmarried or childless men, which both in 
affection and means have married and endowed 
the public. Yet it were great reason that those 
that have children should have greatest care 
of future times, tinto which they know they 
must transmit their dearest pledges. Some 
there are who, though they lead a single life, 


yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and 
account future times impertinences; nay, 
there are some other that account wife and 
children but as bills of charges; nay more, 
there are some foolish rich covetous men, that 
take a pride in having no children, because 
they may be thought so much the richer ; for, 
perhaps they have heard some talk, "Such 
an one is a great rich man," and another 
except to it, "Yea, but he hath a great charge 
of children," as if it were an abatement to his 
riches: but the most ordinary cause of a single 
life is liberty, especially in certain self-pleas- 
ing and humorous minds, which are so sen- 
sible of every restraint, as they will go near to 
think there girdles and garters to be bonds and 
shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, 
best masters, best servants; but not always 
best subjects, for they are light to run away, 
and almost all fugitives are of that condition. 
A single life doth well with churchmen, for 
charity will hardly water the ground where it 
must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for 
judged and magistrates: for if they be facile 
and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times 
worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the 
generals commonly in their hortatives, put men 
in mind of their w r ives and children; and I 
think the despising of marriage amongst the 
Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. 
Certainly wife and children are a kind of dis- 
cipline of humanity; and single men, though 
they be many times more charitable, because 
their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other 


side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted 
(good to make severe inquisitors), because 
their tenderness is not so oft called upon. 
Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore 
constant, are commonly loving husbands, as 
was said of Ulysses, "Vetulam suam praetulit 
immortalitati. " Chaste women are often 
proud and froward, as presuming upon the 
merit of their chastity. It is one of the best 
bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the 
wife, if she think her husband wise, which she 
will never do if she find him jealous. Wives 
are young men's mistresses, companions for 
middle age, and old men's nurses, so as a man 
may have a quarrel to marry when he will: 
but yet he was reputed one of the wise men 
that made answer to the question when a man 
should marry: "A young man not yet, an eld- 
er man not at all." It is often seen that bad 
husbands have very good wives; whether it be 
that it raiseth the price of their husband's 
kindness when it comes, or that the wives take 
a pride in their patience; but this neve^r fails, 
if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, 
against their friends' consent, for then they 
will be sure to make good their own folly. 


There be none of the affections which have 
been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love 
and envy: they both have vehement wishes; 
they frame themselves readily into imagina- 
tions and suggestions, and they come easily 


into the eye, especially upon the presence of 
the objects which are the points that conduce 
to fascination, if any such thing there be. 
We see, likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an 
evil eye; and the astrologers call the evil influ- 
ences of the stars evil aspects ; so that still 
there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act 
of envy, an ejaculation, or irradiation of the 
eye; nay, some have been so curious as to 
note, that the times, when the stroke or per- 
cussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, 
when the party envied is beheld in glory or 
triumph ; for that sets an edge upon envy: and 
besides, at such times, the spirits of the person 
envied do come forth most into the outward 
parts, and so meet the blow. 

But leaving these curiosities (though not un- 
worthy to be thought on in fit place), we will 
handle what persons are apt to envy others, 
what persons are most subject to be envied 
themselves, and what is the difference between 
public and private envy. 

A man that hath no virtue in himself ever 
envieth virtue in others; for men's minds will 
either feed upon their own good, or upon oth- 
ers' evil ; and who wanteth the one will prey 
upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to 
attain to another's virtue, will seek to come at 
even hand, by depressing another's fortune. 

A man that is busy and inquisitive is com- 
monly envious; for to know much of other 
men's matters cannot be, because all that ado 
may concern his own estate ; therefore it must 
needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure 


in looking upon the fortunes of others: neither 
can he that mindeth but his own business find 
much matter for envy ; for envy is a gadding 
passion, and walketh the street, and does not 
keep home: ''Non est curiosus, quin idem sit 
malevolus. " 

Men of noble birth are noted to be envious 
toward new men when they rise ; for the dis- 
tance is altered : and it is like the deceit of the 
eye, that when others come on they think 
themselves go back. 

Deformed persons and eunuchs, and the old 
men and bastards, are envious; for he that 
cannot possibly mend his own case, will do 
what he can to impair another's; except these 
defects light upon a very brave and heroic 
nature, which thinketh to make his natural 
wants part of his honor; in that it should be 
said, "That a eunuch, or a lame man, did 
such great matters," affecting the honor of a 
miracle : As it was in Narses the eunuch, and 
Agesilaus and Tamerlane, that were lame 

The same is the case of men that rise after 
calamities and misfortunes; for they are as 
men fallen out with the times, and think other 
men's harms a redemption of their own suffer- 

They that desire to excel in too many mat- 
ters, out of levity and vain-glory, are ever en- 
vious, for they cannot want work : it being im- 
possible, but many, in some of those things, 
should surpass them ; which was the character 
of Adrian the emperor, that mortally envied 


poets and painters, and artificers in works, 
wherein he had a vein to excel. 

Lastly, near kinsfolk and fellows in office, 
and those that have been bred together, are 
more apt to envy their equals when they are 
raised; for it doth upbraid unto them their 
own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and 
cometh often into their remembrance, and in- 
curreth likewise more into the note of others; 
and envy ever redoubleth from speech and 
fame. Cain's envy was the more vile and 
malignant toward his brother Abel, because 
when his sacrifice was better accepted, there 
was nobody to look on. Thus much for those 
that are apt to envy. Concerning those that 
are more or less subject to envy: First, per- 
sons of eminent virtue, when they are ad- 
vanced, are less envied, for their fortune 
seemeth but due unto them; and no man 
envieth the payment of a debt, but rewards 
and liberality rather. Again, envy is ever 
joined with the comparing of a man's self; 
and where there is no comparison, no envy; 
and therefore kings are not envied but by 
kings. Nevertheless, it is to be noted, that 
unworthy persons are most envied at their 
first coming in, and afterward overcome it 
better; whereas, contrariwise, persons of 
worth and merit are most envied when their 
fortune continueth long; for by that time, 
though their virtue be the same, yet it hath 
not the same luster; for fresh men men grow 
up that darken it. 

Persons of noble blood are less envied in 

4 Bacon 


their rising; for it seemeth but right done to 
their birth; besides, there seemeth not so 
much added to their fortune ; and envy is as 
the sunbeams, that beat hotter upon a bank 
or steep rising ground, than upon a flat; and, 
for the same reason, those that are advanced 
by degrees are less envied than those that are 
advanced suddenly and "per saltum. " 

Those that have joined with their honor 
great travels, cares, or perils, are less subject 
to envy; for men think that they earn their 
honors hardly, and pity them sometimes; and 
pity ever healeth envy: wherefore you shall 
observe, that the more deep and sober sort of 
politic persons, in their greatness, are ever 
bemoaning themselves what a life they lead, 
chanting a "quanta patimur; M not that they 
feel it so, but only to abate the edge of envy: 
but this is to be understood of business that is 
laid upon men, and not such as they call unto 
themselves; for nothing increaseth envy more 
than an unnecessary and ambitious engross- 
ing of business; and nothing doth extinguish 
envy more than for a great person to preserve 
all other inferior officers in their full rights and 
pre-eminences of their places: for, by that 
means, there be so many screens between him 
and envy. 

Above all, those are most subject to envy, 
which carry the greatness of their fortunes in 
an insolent and proud manner: being never 
well but while they are, showing how great 
they are, either by outward pomp, or by 
triumphing over all opposition or competition : 


whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to 
envy, in suffering themselves, sometimes of 
purpose, to be crossed and overborne in things 
that do not much concern them. Notwith- 
standing so much is true, that the carriage of 
greatness in a plain and open manner (so it be 
without arrogancy and vain-glory) doth draw 
less envy than if it be in a more crafty and 
cunning fashion ; for in that course a man doth 
but disavow fortune, and seemeth to be con- 
scious of his own want in worth, and doth but 
teach others to envy him. 

Lastly, to conclude, this part, as we said in 
the beginning that the act of envy had some- 
what in it of witchcraft, so there is no other 
cure of envy but the cure of witchcraft ; and 
that is, to remove the lot (as they call it), and 
lay it upon another: for which purpose the 
wiser sort of great persons bring in ever upon 
the stage somebody upon whom to derive the 
envy that would come upon themselves; some- 
times upon ministers and servants, sometimes 
upon colleagues and associates, and the like; 
and, for that turn, there are never wanting 
some persons of violent and undertaking 
natures, who, so they may have power and 
business, will take it at any cost. 

Now, to speak of public envy: there is yet 
some good in public envy, whereas in private 
there is none; for public envy is as an ostra- 
cism, that eclipseth men when they get too 
great ; and therefore it is a bridle also to great 
ones, to keep them within bounds. 

This envy, being in the Latin word "invi- 


dia, M goeth in the modern languages by the 
name of discontentment; of which we shall 
speak in handling sedition. It is a disease in 
a state like to infection; for as infection 
spreadeth upon that which is sound, and taint- 
eth is, so, when envy is gotten once into a state, 
it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and 
turneth them into an ill odor; and therefore 
there is little won by intermingling of plaus- 
ible actions ; for that doth argue but a weak- 
ness and a fear of envy, which hurteth so much 
the more as it is likewise usual in infections, 
which, if you fear them, you call them upon 

This public envy seemeth to beat chiefly 
upon principal officers or ministers, rather 
than upon kings and estates themselves. But 
this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon the 
minister be great, when the cause of it in him 
is small ; or if the envy be general in a manner 
upon all the ministers of an estate, then the 
envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state 
itself. And so much of public envy or discon- 
tentment, and the difference thereof from pri- 
vate envy, which was handled in the first place. 

We will add this in general, touching the 
affection of envy, that of all other affections 
it is the most importune and continual; for 
of other affections there is occasion given but 
now and then; and therefore it was well said, 
"Invidia festos dies non agit:" for it is ever 
working upon some or other. And it is also 
noted, that love and envy do make a man pine, 
which other affections do not, because they are 


not so continual. It is also the vilest affec- 
tion, and the most depraved; for which cause 
it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is 
called "The envious man, that soweth tares 
amongst the wheat by night;" as it always 
cometh to pass that envy worketh subtilely, 
and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good 
things, such as-is the wheat. 


The stage is more beholding to love than 
the life of man; for as to the stage, love is 
ever matter of comedies, and now and then of 
tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief, 
sometimes like a Siren, sometimes like a Fury. 
You may observe, that amongst all the great 
and worthy persons (whereof the memory 
remaineth, either ancient or recent), there is 
not one that hath been transported to the mad 
degree of love, which shows that great spirits 
and great business do keep out this weak pas- 
sion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus 
Antonius, the half partner of the empire of 
Rome, and Appius Claudius, the Decemvir 
and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed 
a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the 
latter was an austere and wise man : and there- 
fore it seems (though rarely) that love can find 
entrance, not only into an open heart, but also 
into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well 
kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, "Satis 
magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus:" as if 
man, made for the contemplation of heaven 


and all noble objects, should do nothing but 
kneel before a little idol, and make himself 
subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts 
are), yet of the eye, which was given him for 
higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note 
the excess of this passion, and how it braves 
the nature and value of things by this, that 
the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole is comely 
in nothing but in love; neither is it merely in 
the phrase ; for whereas it hath been well said, 
44 That the arch flatterer, with whom all the 
petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's 
self;" certainly the lover is more ; for there was 
never proud man thought so absurdly well of 
himself as the lover doth of the person loved; 
and therefore it was well said, '"That it is im- 
possible to love and to be wise. " Neither doth 
this weakness appear to others only, and not to 
the party loved, but to the loved most of all, ex- 
cept the love be reciprocal; for it is a true rule, 
that love is ever rewarded, either with recipro- 
cal, or with an inward and secret contempt; 
by how much the more men ought to beware 
of this passion, which loseth not only other 
things, but itself. As for the other losses, the 
poet's relation doth well figure them : "That he 
that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of 
Juno and Pallas ;" for whosoever esteemeth 
too much of amorous affection, quitteth both 
riches and wisdom. This passion hath his 
floods in the very times of weakness, which 
are, great prosperity and great adversity, 
though this latter hath been less observed ; both 
which times kindle love, and make it more 


fervent, and therefore show it to be the child 
of folly. They do best who, if they cannot 
but admit love, yet make it keep quarter, and 
sever it wholly from their serious affairs and 
actions of life; for if it check once with bus- 
iness, it troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh 
men that they can nowise be true to their own 
ends. I know not how, but martial men are 
given to love: I think it is, but as they are 
given to wine, for perils commonly ask to be 
paid in pleasures. There is in man's nature a 
secret inclination and motion toward love of 
others, which, if it be not spent upon some one 
or a few, doth naturally spread itself toward 
many, and maketh men become humane 
and charitable, as it is seen sometimes in 
friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind, friendly 
love perfecteth it, but wanton love corrupteth 
and embaseth it. 


Men in great place are thrice servants — 
servants of the sovereign or state, servants of 
fame, and servants of business ; so as they have 
no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in 
their actions, nor in their times. It is a 
strange desire to seek power and to lose liber- 
ty; or to seek power over others, and to lose 
power over a man's self. The rising unto 
place is laborious and by pains men come to 
greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and 
by indignities men come to dignities. The 
standing is slippery, and the regress is either 


a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a 
melancholy thing. : "Cum non sis qui fueris, 
non esse cur velis vivere. " Nay, retire men 
cannot when they would, neither will they 
when it were reason; but are impatient of 
privateness even in age and sickness, which 
require the shadow ; like old townsmen, that 
will be still sitting at their street door, though 
thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly 
great persons had need to borrow other men's 
opinions to think themselves happy ; for if they 
judge by their own feeling, they cannot find 
it: but if they think with themselves what 
other men think of them, and that other men 
would fain be as they are, then they are happy 
as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find 
the contrary within ; for they are the first that 
find their own griefs, though they be the last 
that find their own faults. Certainly men in 
great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and 
while they are in the puzzle of business they 
have no time to tend their health either of 
body or mind. "Illi mors gravis incubat, qui 
notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi. " 
In place there is license to do good and evil; 
whereof the latter is a curse ; for in evil the 
best condition is not to will, the second not to 
can. But power to do good is the true and 
lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts, 
though God accept them, yet toward men are 
little better than good dreams, except they be 
put in act; and that cannot be without power 
and place, as the vantage and commanding 
ground. Merit and good works is the end of 


man's motion; and conscience of the same is 
the accomplishment of man's rest: for if a 
man can be partaker of God's theater, he shall 
likewise be partaker of God's rest. "Etcon- 
versus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quae fecerunt 
manus suae, vidit quod omnia essent bona 
nimis;" and then the Sabbath. 

In the discharge of thy place set before thee 
the best examples ; for imitation is a globe of 
precepts; and after a time set before thee 
thine own example; and examine thyself 
strictly whether thou didst not best at first. 
Neglect not also the examples of those that 
have carried themselves ill in the same place; 
not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, 
but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, 
therefore, without bravery or scandal of former 
times and persons; but j^et set it down to 
thyself, as well to create good precedents as to 
follow them. Reduce things to the first 
institution, and observe wherein and how they 
have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both 
times — of the ancient time what is best, and 
of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to 
make thy course regular, that men may know 
beforehand what they may expect; but be not 
too positive and peremptory; and express thy- 
self well when thou digressest from thy rule. 
Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not 
questions of jurisdiction: and rather assume 
thy right in silence, and "de facto," than 
voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve 
likewise the rights of inferior places; and 
think it more honor to direct in chief than to 

L 4 Bacon 


be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and 
advices touching the execution of thy place; 
and do not drive away such as bring thee 
information as meddlers, but accept of .them 
in good part. The vices of authority are 
chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness 
and facility. For delays give easy access; 
keep times appointed; go through with that 
which is in hand, and interlace not business 
but of necessity. For corruption, do not only 
bind thine own hands or thy servant's hands 
from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also 
from offering; for integrity used doth the one; 
but integrity professed, and with a manifest 
detestation of bribery, doth the other; and 
avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. 
Whosoever is found variable, and changeth 
manifestly without manifest cause, giveth sus- 
picion of corruption: therefore, always when 
thou changest thine opinion or course, profess 
it plainly, and declare it, together with the 
reasons that move thee to change, and do not 
think to steal it. A servant or a favorite, if 
he be inward, and no other apparent cause of 
esteem, is commonly thought but a byway to 
close corruption. For roughness, it is a need- 
less cause of discontent: severity breedeth 
fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even 
reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and 
not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than 
bribery; for bribes come but now and then; 
but if importunity or idle respects lead a man, 
he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, 


"To respect persons is not good; for such a 
man will transgress for a piece of bread." 

It is most true that was anciently spoken : 
"A place showeth the man; and it showeth 
some to the better and some to the worse." 
"Omnium concensu capax imperii, nisi im- 
perasset, " saith Tacitus of Galba; but of 
Vespasian he saith, "Solus imperantium, Ves- 
pasianus mutatus in melius •/' though the one 
was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners 
and affection. It is an assured sign of a 
worthy and generous spirit, whom honor 
amends; for honor is, or should be, the place 
of virtue ; and as in nature things move vio- 
lently to their place, and calmly in their place, 
so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority 
settled and calm. All rising to great place is 
by a winding stair; and if there be factions, 
it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in 
the rising, and to balance himself when he is 
placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor 
fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not. it is a 
debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If 
thou have colleagues, respect them ; and rather 
call them when they look not for it, than 
exclude them when they have reason to look 
to be called. Be not too sensible or too 
remembering of thy place in conversation and 
private answers to suitors; but let it rather be 
said, "When he sits in place, he is another 



It is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet 
worthy a wise man's consideration. Question 
was asked of Demosthenes, what was the chief 
part of an orator? he answered, Action: what 
next? — Action: what next again? — Action. 
He said it that knew it best, and had by nature 
himself no advantage in that he commended. 
A strange thing, that that part of an orator 
which is but superficial, and rather the virtue 
of a player, should be placed so high above 
those other noble arts of invention, elocution, 
and the rest, nay, almost alone, as if it were 
all in all. But the reason is plain. There is 
in human nature generally more of the fool 
than of the wise ; and, therefore, those facul- 
ties by which the foolish part of men's minds 
is taken are most potent. Wonderful-like is 
the case of boldness in civil business; what 
first? — boldness; what second and third? — 
boldness; and yet boldness is a child of ignor- 
ance and baseness, far inferior to other parts : 
but, nevertheless, it doth fascinate, and bind 
hand and foot those that are either shallow in 
judgment or weak in courage, which are the 
greatest part; yea, and prevaileth with wise 
men at weak times; therefore, we see it hath 
done wonders in popular states, but with sen- 
ates and princes less ; and more, ever upon the 
first entrance of bold persons into action than 
soon after; for boldness is an ill-keeper of 
promise. Surely as there are mountebanks for 
the natural body, so are there mountebanks 


for the politic body; men that undertake great 
cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or 
three experiments, but want the grounds of 
science, and, therefore, cannot hold out; nay, 
you shall see a bold fellow many times do 
Mahomet's miracle. Mahomet made the 
people believe that he would call a hill to him, 
and from the top of it offer up his prayers for 
the observers of his law. The people assem- 
bled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him 
again and again; and when the hill stood still, 
he was never a whit abashed, but said, "If the 
hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will 
go to the hill." So these men when they 
have promised great matters and failed most 
shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of 
boldness) they will but slight it over, and make 
a turn, and no more ado. Certainly to men of 
great judgment, bold persons are a sport to 
behold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness 
hath somew T hat of the ridiculous; for if absurd- 
ity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not 
but great boldness is seldom without some 
absurdity; especially it is a sport to see when 
a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that 
puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden 
posture, as needs it must; for in bashfulness 
the spirits do a little go and come; but with 
bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at 
a stay; like a stale at chess, where it is no 
mate, but yet the game cannot stir; but this 
last were fitter for a satire than for a serious 
observation. This is well to be weighed, that 
boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers 


and inconveniences: therefore, it is ill in coun- 
sel, good in execution ; so that the right use 
of bold persons is, that they never command in 
chief, but be seconds and under the direction 
of others ; for in counsel it is good to see dan- 
gers, and in execution not to see them except 
they be very great. 


I take goodness in this sense, the affecting 
of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians 
call "philanthropia;" and the word humanity 
(as it is used) is a little too light to express it. 
Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of 
nature the inclination. This, of all virtues 
and dignities of the mind, is the greatest, 
being the character of the Deity; and without 
it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, 
no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness 
answers to the theological virtue charity, and 
admits no excess but error. The desire of 
power in excess caused the angels to fall ; the 
desire of knowledge in excess caused man to 
fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither 
can angel or man come in danger by it. The 
inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in 
the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue 
not toward men, it will take unto other living 
creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel 
people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, 
and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch as 
Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy in Con- 


stantinople had like to have been stoned for 
gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl. 
Errors, indeed, in this virtue, of goodness or 
charity, may be committed. The Italians 
have an ungracious proverb, "Tanto buon che 
val niente:" — "so good, that he is good for 
nothing:" and one of the doctors of Italy, 
Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence to put 
in writing, almost in plain terms, "That the 
Christian faith had given up good men in prey 
to those that are tyrannical and unjust;" 
which he spake, because, indeed, there was 
never law, or sect, or opinion did so much 
magnify goodness as the Christian religion 
doth : therefore, to avoid the scandal and the 
danger both, it is good to take knowledge of 
the errors of a habit so excellent. Seek the 
good of other men, but be not in bondage to 
their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or 
softness, which taketh an honest mind prison- 
er. Neither give thou -^Esop's cock a gem, 
who would be better pleased and happier if he 
had had a barley-corn. The example of God 
teacheth the lesson truly; "He sendeth his 
rain, and maketh his sun to shine upon the 
just and the unjust;" but he doth not rain 
wealth, nor shine honor and virtue upon men 
equally: common benefits are to be communi- 
cate with all, but peculiar benefits with choice. 
And beware how in making the portraiture 
thou breakest the pattern; for divinity maketh 
the love of ourselves the pattern: the love of 
our neighbors but the portraiture : "Sell all 
thou hast, and give it to the poor, and follow 


me:" but sell not all thou hast except thou 
come and follow me; that is, except thou have 
a vocation wherein thou may est do as much 
good with little means as with great; the 
otherwise, in feeding the streams, thou driest 
for fountain. Neither is there only a habit of 
goodness directed by right reason ; but there 
is in some men, even in nature, a disposition 
toward it; as, on the other side, there is a 
natural malignity: for there be that in their 
nature do not affect the good of others. The 
lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a 
crossness, or forwardness, or aptness to oppose, 
or difficileness, or the like ; but the deeper sort 
to envy, and mere mischief. Such men in 
other men's calamities, are, as it were, in sea- 
son, and are ever on the loading part: not so 
good as the dogs that licked Lazarus' sores, 
but like flies that are still buzzing upon any- 
thing that is raw; misanthropi, that make it 
their practice to bring men to the bough, and 
yet have never a tree for the purpose in their 
gardens, as Timon had: such dispositions are 
the very errors of human nature, and yet they 
are the fittest timber to make great politics of; 
like to knee timber, that is good for ships that 
are ordained to be tossed, but not for building 
houses that shall stand firm. The parts and 
signs of goodness are many. If a man be 
gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows 
he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart 
is no island cut off from other lands, but a con- 
tinent that joins to them; if he be compassion- 
ate toward the afflictions of others, it shows 


that his heart is like the noble tree that is 
Wounded itself when it gives the balm : if he 
easily pardons and remits offences, it shows 
that his mind is planted above injuries, so that 
he cannot be shot; if he be thankful for small 
benefits, it shows that he weighs men's minds, 
and not their trash : but, above all, if he have 
St. Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be 
an anathema from Christ for the salvation of 
his brethren, it shows much of a divine nature, 
and a kind of conformity with Christ himself. 


We will speak of nobility first as a portion 
of an estate, then as a condition of particular 
persons. A monarchy, where there is no no- 
bility at all, is ever a pure and absolute tyran- 
ny, as that of the Turks ; for nobility attempers 
sovereignty, and draws the eyes of the people 
somewhat aside from the line royal: but for 
democracies they need it not ; and they are 
commonly more quiet and less subject to sedi- 
tion than where there are stirps of nobles; for 
men's eyes are upon the business, and not upon 
the persons; or if upon the persons, it is for 
the business sake, as fittest, and not for flags 
and pedigree. We see the Switzers last well, 
notwithstanding their diversity of religion and 
of cantons; for utility is their bond, and not 
respects. The united provinces of the Low 
Countries in their government excel; for 
where there is an equality the consultations 
are more indifferent, and the payments and 


tributes more cheerful. A great and potent 
nobility addeth majesty to a monarch; but 
diminisheth power, and putteth life and spirit 
into the people, but presseth their fortune. It 
is well when nobles are not too great for sover- 
eignty nor for justice; and yet maintained in 
that height, as the insolency of inferiors may 
be broken upon them before it come on too 
fast upon the majesty of kings. A numerous 
nobility causeth poverty and inconvenience in 
a state, for it is a surcharge of expense ; and 
besides, it being of necessity that many of the 
nobility fall in time to be weak in fortune, it 
maketh a kind of disproportion between honor 
and means. 

As for nobility in particular persons, it is a 
reverend thing to see an ancient castle or 
building not in decay, or to see a fair timber- 
tree sound and perfect; how much more to 
behold an ancient noble family, which hath 
stood against the waves and weathers of time ! 
for new nobility is but the act of power, but 
ancient nobility is the act of time. " Those that 
are first raised to nobility are commonly more 
virtuous, but less innocent, than their descend- 
ants; for there is rarely any rising but by a 
commixture of good and evil arts; but it is 
reason the memory of their virtues remain to 
their posterity, and their faults die with them- 
selves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth 
industry; and he that is not industrious, en- 
vieth he that is; besides, noble persons can 
not go much higher; and he that standeth at 
a stay when others rise, can hardly avoid 


motions of envy. On the other side, nobility 
extinguished the passive envy from others 
toward them, because they are in possession 
of honor. Certainly, kings that have able men 
of their nobility shall find ease in employing 
them, and a better slide into their business; 
for people naturally bend to them as born in 
some sort to command. 


Shepherds of people had need know the cal- 
endars of tempests in state, which are com- 
monly greatest when things grow to equality ; 
as natural tempests are greatest about the 
equinoctia, and as there are certain hollow 
blasts of wind and secret swellings of seas 
before a tempest, so are there in states : 

"Ille etiam caecos instare tumultus 

Saepe monet, f raudesque et operta tumescere bella. ' ' 

Libels and licentious discourses against the 
state, when they are frequent and open; and 
in like sort false news, often running up and 
down, to the disadvantage of the state, and 
hastily embraced, are amongst the signs of 
troubles. Virgil, giving the pedigree of Fame, 
saith she was sister to the giants: 

•'Illam Terra parens, ira irritata Deorum, 
Extremam (ut perhibent) Cceo Enceladoque sororem 
Progenuit. ' ' 

As if fames were the relics of seditions past; 
but they are no less indeed the preludes of 


seditions to come. Howsoever he noteth it 
right, that seditious tumults and seditious 
fames differ no more but as brother and sister, 
masculine and feminine ; especially if it come 
to that, that the best actions of a state, and the 
most plausible, and which ought to give great- 
est contentment, are taken in ill sense, 
and traduced : for that shows the envy great, 
as Tacitus saith: "Conflata magna invidia, 
seu bene, seu male, gest apremunt. " Neither 
doth it follow, that because these fames are a 
sign of troubles, that the suppressing of them 
with too much severity should be a remedy 
of troubles; for the despising of them many 
times checks them best, and the going about to 
stop them doth but make a wonder long-lived. 
Also that kind of obedience, which Tacitus 
speaketh of, is to be held suspected: "Erant 
in officio, ced tamen qui mallent imperantium 
mandata interpretari, quam exsequi;" disput- 
ing, excusing, cavilling upon mandates and 
directions, is a kind of shaking off the yoke, 
and assay of disobedience; especially if in 
those disputings they which are for the direc- 
tion speak fearfully and tenderly, and those 
that are against it audaciously. 

Also, as Machiavel noteth well, when 
princes, that ought to be common parents, 
make themselves as a party, and lean to a 
side; it is, as a boat that is overthrown by 
uneven weight on the one side ; as was well 
seen in the time of Henry the Third of France ; 
for first himself entered league for the extir- 
pation of the Protestants, and presently after 


the same league was turned upon himself: for 
when the authority of princes is made but an 
accessory to a cause, and that there be other 
bands that tie faster than the band of sover- 
eignty, kings begin to be put almost out of 

Also, when discords, and quarrels, and fac- 
tions, are carried openly and audaciously, it is 
a sign the reverence of government is lost; 
for the motions of the greatest persons in a 
government ought to be as the motions of the 
planets under "primum mobile/ ' according 
to the old opinion, which is, that every one of 
them is carried swiftly by the highest motion, 
and softly in their own motion; and therefore, 
when great ones in their own particular motion 
move violently, and as Tacitus expresseth it 
well, "liberius quam ut imperantium mem- 
inissent, " it is a sign the orbs are out of frame: 
for reverence is that wherewith princes are 
girt from God, who threateneth the dissolving 
thereof; "Solvam cingula regum." 

So when any of the four pillars of govern- 
ment are mainly shaken or weakened (which 
are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure), 
men had need to pray for fair weather. But 
let us pass from this part of predictions (con- 
cerning which, nevertheless, more light may 
be taken from that which followeth) and let us 
speak first of the materials of seditions; then 
of the motives of them; and thirdly of the 

Concerning the materials of seditions, it is 
a thing well to be considered; for the surest 


way to prevent seditions (if the times do bear 
it) is to take away the matter of them; for if 
there be fuel prepared, it is hard to tell whence 
the spark shall come that shall set it on fire. 
The matter of seditions is of two kinds; much 
poverty and much discontentment. It is cer- 
tain, so many overthrown estates so many 
votes for troubles. Lucan noteth well the 
state of Rome before the civil war: 

"Hincusura vorax, rapid um que in tempore fcenus, 
Hinc concussa fides, et multis utile bellum." 

This same " multis utile bellum," is an 
assured and infallible sign of a state disposed 
to seditions and troubles; and if this poverty 
and broken estate in the better sort be joined 
with a want and necessity in the mean people 
the danger is imminent and great; for the 
rebellions of the belly are the worst. As for 
discontentments, they are in the politic body 
like to humors in the natural, which are apt 
to gather a preternatural heat and to inflame ; 
and let no prince measure the danger of them 
by this, whether they be just or unjust: for 
that were to imagine people to be too reason- 
able, who do often spurn at their own good; 
nor yet by this, whether the griefs whereupon 
they rise be in fact great or small; for they 
are the most dangerous discontentments where 
the fear is greater than the feeling: "Dolendi 
modus, timendi, non item:" besides, in great 
oppressions, the same things that provoke the 
patience, do withal mate the courage; but in 
fears it is not so ; neither let any prince or state 


be secure concerning discontentments, be- 
cause they have been often, or have been long, 
and yet no peril hath ensued: for as it is true 
that every vapor or fume doth not turn into a 
storm, so it is nevertheless true that storms, 
though they blow over divers times, yet may 
fall at last; and, as the Spanish proverb noteth 
well, "The cord breaketh at the last by the 
weakest pull." 

The causes and motives of seditions are, 
innovation in religion, taxes, alteration of 
laws and customs, breaking of privileges, gen- 
eral oppression, advancement of unworthy per- 
sons, strangers, dearths, disbanded soldiers, 
factions grown desperate ; and whatsoever in 
offending people joineth and knitteth them in 
a common cause. 

For the remedies, there may be some gen- 
eral preservatives, whereof we will speak: as 
for the just cure, it must answer to the partic- 
ular disease : and so be left to counsel rather 
than rule. 

The first remedy, or prevention, is to remove 
by all means possible that material cause of 
sedition whereof we spake, which is, want and 
poverty in the estate: to which purpose 
serveth the opening and well-balancing of 
trade; the cherishing of manufactures; the 
banishing of idleness; the repressing of waste 
and excess, by sumptuary laws; the improve- 
ment and husbanding of the soil; the regulat- 
ing of prices of things vendible; the moderat- 
ing of taxes and tributes, and the like. Gen- 
erally, it is to be foreseen that the population 


of a kingdom (especially it it be not mown 
down by wars) do not exceed the stock of the 
kingdom which should maintain them: 
neither is the population to be reckoned only 
by number; for a smaller number, that spend 
more and earn less, do wear out an estate 
sooner than a greater number that live lower 
and gather more : therefore the multiplying of 
nobility, and other degrees of quality, in an 
over proportion to the common people, doth 
speedily bring a state to necessity; and so 
doth likewise an overgrown clergy, for they 
bring nothing to the stock; and, in like man- 
ner, when more are bred scholars than pre- 
ferments can take off. 

It is likewise to be remembered, that, for- 
asmuch as the increase of any estate must be 
upon the foreigner (for whatsoever is some- 
where gotten is somewhere lost), there be but 
three things which one nation selleth unto 
another ; the commodity, as nature yieldeth it ; 
the manufacture; and the vecture, or carriage; 
so that, if these three wheels go, wealth will 
flow as in a spring tide. And it cometh many 
times to pass, that, "materiam superabit 
opus," that the work and carriage is more 
worth than the material, and enricheth a state 
more: as is notably seen in the Low Country- 
men, who have the best mines above ground 
in the world. 

Above all things, good policy is to be used, 
that the treasure and monies in a state be not 
gathered into few hands; for, otherwise, a 
state may have a great stock, and yet starve; 


and money is like muck, not good except to be 
spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing, 
or, at least, keeping a straight hand upon the 
devouring trades of usury, engrossing great 
pasturages, and the like. 

For removing discontentments, or, at least, 
the danger of them, there is in every state (as 
we know) two portions of subjects, the nobles 
and commonalty. When one of these is dis- 
content, the danger is not great ; for common 
people are of slow motion, if they be not ex- 
cited by the greater sort; and the greater sort 
are of small strength except the multitude be 
apt and ready to move of themselves ; then is 
the danger, when the greater sort do but wait 
for the troubling of the waters among the 
meaner, that then they may declare them- 
selves. The poets feign that the rest of the 
gods would have bound Jupiter; which he 
hearing of, by the counsel of Pallas, sent for 
Briareus, with his hundred hands, to come in 
to his aid: an emblem, no doubt, to show how 
safe it is for monarchs to make sure of the 
good will of common people. 

To give moderate liberty for griefs and dis- 
contentments to evaporate (so it be without 
too great insolency or bravery), is a safe way: 
for he that turneth the humors back, and 
maketh the wound bleed inward, endangereth 
malign ulcers and pernicious imposthumations. 

The part of Epimetheus might well become 
Prometheus, in the case of discontentments, 
for there is not a better provision against 
them. Epimetheus, when griefs and evils 

5 Bacon 


flow abroad, at last shut the lid, and kept hope 
in the bottom of the vessel. Certainly, the 
politic and artificial nourishing and entertain- 
ing of hopes, and carrying men from hopes to 
hopes, is one of best antidotes against the 
poison of discontentments: and it is a certain 
sign of a wise government and proceeding, 
when it can hold men's hearts by hopes, when 
it cannot by satisfaction, and when it can 
handle things in such manner as no evil shall 
appear so peremptory but that it hath some 
outlet of hope ; which is the less hard to do, 
because both particular persons and factions 
are apt enough to flatter themselves, or at least 
to brave that which they believe not. 

Also the foresight and prevention, that there 
be no likely or fit head whereunto discon- 
tented persons may resort, and under whom 
they may join, is a known, but an excellent 
point of caution. I understand a fit head to 
be one that hath greatness and reputation, 
that hath confidence with the discontented 
party, and upon whom they turn their eyes, 
and that is thought discontented in his own par- 
ticular: which kind of persons are either to be 
won and reconciled to the state, and that in 
a fast and true manner; or to be fronted with 
some other of the same party that may oppose 
them, and so divide the reputation. Generally, 
the dividing and breaking of all factions and 
combinations that are adverse to the state, and 
setting them at distance, or, at least, distrust 
amongst themselves, is not one of the worst 
remedies; for it is a desperate case, if those 


that hold with the proceeding of the state be 
full of discord and faction, and those that are 
against it be entire and united. 

I have noted, that some witty and sharp 
speeches, which have fallen from princes, 
have given fire to seditions. Caesar did him- 
self infinite hurt in that speech — "Syllanescivit 
literas, non potuit dictare;" for it did utterly 
cut off that hope which men had entertained, 
that he would as one time or other give over 
his dictatorship. Galb undid himself by that 
speech, "Legi a se militem, non emi;" for it 
put the soldiers out of hope of the donative. 
Probus, likewise, by that speech 44 Si vixero, 
non opus erit amplius Romano imperio multi- 
bus;" a speech of great despair for the sol- 
diers, and many the like. Surely princes had 
need in tender matters and ticklish times to 
beware what they say, especially in these short 
speeches, which fly abroad like darts, and are 
thought to be shot out of their secret inten- 
tions ; for as for large discourses, they are flat 
things, and not so much noted. 

Lastly, let princes, against all events, not be 
without some great person, one or rather 
more, of military valor, near unto them, for 
the repressing of seditions in their beginnings; 
for without that, there useth to be more trep- 
idation in court upon the first breaking out of 
troubles than were fit ; and the state runneth 
the danger of that which Tacitus saith; 
"Atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut pessimum 
facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent omnes, 
paterentur:" but let such military persons be 


assured, and well reputed of, rather than 
factious and popular; holding also good corres- 
pondence with the other great men in the state, 
or else the remedy is worse than the disease. 


I had rather believe all the fables in the 
legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, 
than that this universal frame is without a 
mind; and, therefore, God never wrought 
miracle to convince atheism, because his ordi- 
nary works convince it. It is true, that a little 
philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, 
but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds 
about to religion; for while the mind of man 
looketh upon second causes scattered, it may 
sometimes rest in them, and go no further; 
but when it beholdeth the chain of them con- 
federate, and linked together, it must needs fly 
to Providence and Deity: nay, even that school 
which is most accused of atheism doth most 
demonstrate religion: that is, the school of 
Leucippus, and Democritus, and Epicurus, 
for it is a thousand times more credible that 
four mutable elements, and one immutable 
fifth- essence, duly and eternally placed, need 
no God, than that an army of infinite small 
portions, or seeds unplaced, should have pro- 
duced this order and beauty without a divine 
marshal. The Scripture saith, "The fool 
hath said in his heart, there is no God;" it is 
not said, "The fool hath thought in his 
heart,;" so as he rather saith it by rote to 


himself, as that he would have, than that he 
can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of 
it; for none deny there is a God, but those 
for whom it maketh that there were no God. 
It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is 
rather in the lip than in the heart of man, 
than by this, that atheists will ever be talking 
of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it 
within themselves, and would be glad to be 
strengthened by the consent of others; nay 
more, you shall have atheists strive to get dis- 
ciples, as it f areth with other sects ; and, which 
is most of all, you shall have of them that will 
suffer for atheism, and not recant ; whereas, if 
they did truly think that there were no such 
thing as God, why should they trouble them- 
selves? Epicurus is charged, that he did but dis- 
semble for his credit's sake, when he affirmed 
there were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed 
themselves without having respect to the gov- 
ernment of the world ; wherein they say he did 
temporize, though in secret he thought there 
was no God: but certainly he is traduced, for 
his words are noble and divine: "Non Deos 
vulgi negare profanum; sed vulgi opiniones 
Diis applicare profanum." Plato could have 
said no more; and although he had the confi- 
dence to deny the administration, he had not 
the power to deny the nature. The Indians 
of the west have names for their particular 
gods, though they have no name for God ; as if 
the heathens should have had the names Jup- 
iter, Apollo, Mars, etc., but not the word 
Deus, which shows that even those barbarous 


people have the notion, though they have not 
the latitude and extent of it; so that against 
atheists the very savages take part with the 
very subtlest philosophers. The contemplative 
atheist is rare ; a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian 
perhaps, and some others; and yet they seem 
to be more than they are; for that all that 
impugn a received religion, or superstition, 
are, by the adverse part, branded with the 
name of atheists; but the great atheists indeed 
are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy 
things but without feeling; so as they must 
needs be cauterized in the end. The causes 
of atheism are, divisions in religion, if they be 
many; for any one main division addeth zeal 
to both sides, but many divisions introduce 
atheism: another is, scandal of priests, when 
it is come to that which St. Bernard saith, 
<4 Non est jam dicere, ut populus, sic sacerdos; 
quia nee sic populus, ut sacerdos:" a third is, 
custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, 
which doth by little and little deface the rev- 
erence of religion; and lastly, learned times, 
specially with peace and prosperity ; for troubles 
and adversities do more bow men's minds to 
religion. They that deny a God destroy a 
man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to 
the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin 
to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble 
creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, 
and the raising of human nature; for take 
an example of a dog, and mark what a gener- 
osity and courage he will put on when he finds 
himself maintained by a man, who to him is 


instead of a God, "or melior natura;" which 
courage is manifestly such as that creature, 
without that confidence of a better nature 
than his own, could never attain. So man, 
when he resteth and assureth himself upon 
divine protection and favor, gathereth a force 
and faith, which human nature in itself could 
not obtain; therefore, as atheism is in all 
respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth 
human nature of the means to exalt itself 
above human frailty. As it is in particular 
persons, so it is in nations; never was there 
such a state for magnanimity as Rome. Of 
this state hear what Cicero saith: "Quam 
volumus, licet, Patres conscripti, nos amemus, 
tamen nee numero Hispanos, nee robore Gallos, 
nee calliditate Poenos, nee artibus Graecos, nee 
denique hoc ipso hujus gentis et terrae domes- 
tico nativoque sensu Italosipsos et Latinos ; sed 
pietate, ac religione, atque hac una sapientia, 
quod Deorum immortalium numine omnia regi, 
gubernarique perspeximus, omnes gentes, 
nationesque superavimus. " 


It were better to have no opinion of God at 
all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him ; 
for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely : 
and certainly superstition is the reproach of 
the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose, 
"Surely," saith he, "I had rather a great deal 
men should say there was no such man at all 
as Plutarch, than that they should say that 


there was one Plutarch that would eat his chil- 
dren as soon as they were born;" as the poet 
speaks of Saturn: and, as the contumely is 
greater toward God, so the danger is greater 
toward men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, 
to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to 
reputation : all which may be guides to an out- 
ward moral virtue, though religion were not ; 
but superstition dismounts all these, and 
erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds 
of men : therefore, atheism did never perturb 
states; for it makes men wary of themselves, 
as looking no further, and we see the times in- 
clined to atheism (as the time of Augustus 
Caesar) were civil times; but superstition hath 
been the confusion of many states, and bring- 
eth in anew "primum mobile, " that ravisheth 
all the spheres of government. The master of 
superstition is the people, and in all supersti- 
tion wise men follow fools: and arguments are 
fitted to practice in a reversed order. It was 
gravely said by some of the prelates in the 
Council of Trent, where the doctrine of the 
schoolmen bare great sway, that the schoolmen 
were like astronomers, which did feign eccen- 
trics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs 
to save the phenomena, though they knew 
there was no such things; and, in like manner, 
that the schoolmen had framed a number of 
subtle and intricate axioms and theorems, to 
save the practice of the Church. The causes 
of superstition are, pleasing and sensual rites 
and ceremonies; excess of outward and Phari- 
saical holiness; overgreat reverence of tradi- 


tions, which cannot but load the Church ; the 
stratagems of prelates for their own ambition 
and lucre ; the favoring too much of good in- 
tentions, which openeth the gate to conceits 
and novelties ; the taking an aim at divine mat- 
ters by human, which cannot but breed mix- 
ture of imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous 
times, especially joined with calamities and 
disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a 
deformed thing ; for as it addeth deformity to 
an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of 
superstition to religion makes it the more de- 
formed : and as wholesome meat corrupteth to 
little worms, so good forms and orders corrupt 
into a number of petty observances. There is 
a superstition in avoiding superstition, when 
men think to do best if they go furthest from 
the superstition formerly received; therefore 
care would be had that (as it fareth in ill purg- 
ings) the good be not taken away with the 
bad, which commonly is done when the people 
is the reformer. 


Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of edu- 
cation ; in the elder, a part of experience. He 
that traveleth into a country, before he hath 
some entrance into the language, goeth to 
school, and not to travel. That young men 
travel under some tutor or grave servant, I 
allow well; so that he be such a one that hath 
the language, and hath been in the country 
before ; whereby he may be able to tell them 

I) Bacon 


what things are worthy to be seen in the 
country where they go, what acquaintances 
they are to seek, what exercises or discipline 
the place yielded; for else young men shall go 
hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange 
thing, that in sea voyages, where there 
is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men 
should make diaries; but in land travel, 
wherein so much is to be observed, for the 
most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter 
to be registered than observation: let diaries, 
therefore, be brought in use. The things to 
be seen and observed are, the courts of princes, 
especially when they give audience to ambas- 
sadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and 
hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; 
the churches and monasteries, with the monu- 
ments which are therein extant; the walls and 
fortifications of cities and towns; and so the 
havens and harbors, antiquities and ruins, 
libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, 
where any are; shipping and navies; houses 
and gardens of state and pleasure, near great 
cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, ex- 
changes, burses, warehouses, exercises of 
horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, 
and the like; comedies, such whereunto the 
better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of 
jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, 
to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the 
places where they go; after all which the 
tutors or servants ought to make diligent in- 
quiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, wed- 
dings, funerals, capital executions, and such 


shows, men need not be put in mind of them : 
yet are they not to be neglected. If you will 
have a young man to put his travel into a little 
room, and in short time to gather much, this 
you must do: first, as was said, he must have 
some entrance into the language before he 
goeth; then he must have such a servant, or 
tutor, as knoweth the country, as was like- 
wise said : let him carry with him also some 
card, or book, describing the country where 
he traveleth, which will be a good key to his 
inquiry; let him keep also a diary; let him not 
stay long in one city or town, more or less as 
the place deserveth, but not long ; nay, when 
he stayeth in one city or town, let him change 
his lodging from one end and part of the town 
to another, which is a great adamant of 
acquaintance ; let him sequester himself from 
the company of his countrymen, and diet in 
such places where there is good company of the 
nation where he traveleth: let him, upon his 
removes from one place to another, procure 
recommendation to some person of quality 
residing in the place whither he removeth, that 
he may use his favor in those things he de- 
sireth to see or know; thus he may abridge his 
travels with much profit. As for the acquaint- 
ance which is to be sought in travel, that which 
is most of all profitable, is acquaintance with 
the secretaries and employed men of ambas- 
sadors; for so in traveling in one country he 
shall suck the experience of many: let him also 
see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, 
which are of great name abroad, that he may 


be able to tell how the life agreeth with the 
fame; for quarrels, they are with care and dis- 
cretion to be avoided ; they are commonly for 
mistresses, healths, place, and words; and let 
a man beware how he keepeth company with 
choleric and quarrelsome persons: for they 
will engage him into their own quarrels. When 
a traveler returneth home, let him not leave 
the countries where he hath traveled alto- 
gether behind him, but maintain a correspond- 
ence by letters with those of his acquaintance 
.which are of most worth; and let his travel 
appear rather in his discourse than in his 
apparel or gesture ; and in his discourse let him 
be rather advised in his answers, than forward 
to tell stories ; and let it appear that he doth 
not change his country manners for those of 
foreign parts; but only prick in some flowers 
of that he hath learned abroad into the cus- 
toms of his own country. 


It is a miserable state of mind to have few 
things to desire, and many things to fear; and 
yet that commonly in the case of kings, who 
being at the highest, want matter of desire, 
which makes their minds more languishing; 
and have many representations of perils and 
shadows, which makes their minds the less 
clear; and this is one reason also of that effect 
which the Scripture speaketh of, "That the 
king's heart is inscrutable :" for multitude of 
jealousies, and lack of some predominant de- 


sire, that should marshal and put in order all 
the rest, maketh any man's heart hard to find 
or sound. Hence it comes likewise, that 
princes many times make themselves desires, 
and set their hearts upon toys; sometimes 
upon a building; sometimes upon erecting of 
an order; sometimes upon the advancing of a 
person ; sometimes upon obtaining excellency 
in some art, or feat of the hand : as Nero for 
playing on the harp; Domitian for certainty of 
the hand with the arrow ; Commodus for play- 
ing at fence; Caracalla for driving chariots, 
and the like. This seemeth incredible unto those 
that know not the principle, that the mind of 
man is more cheered and refreshed by profiting 
in small things than by standing at a stay in 
great. We see also that kings that have been 
fortunate conquerors their first years, it being- 
not possible for them to go forward infinitely, 
but that they must have some check or arrest 
in their fortunes, turn in their latter years to 
be superstitious and melancholy; as did Alex- 
ander the Great, Dioclesian, and in our mem- 
ory, Charles the Fifth, and others ; for he that 
is used to go forward, and findeth a stop, fall- 
eth out of his own favor, and is not the thing 
he was. 

To speak now of the true temper of empire, 
it is a thing rare and hard to keep; for both 
temper and distemper consist of contraries ; but 
it is one thing to mingle contraries, another to 
interchange them. The answer of Apollonius 
to Vespasian is full of excellent instruction. 
Vespasian asked him, "What was Nero's over- 


throw?" he answered. "Nero could touch and 
tune the harp well; but in government some- 
times he used to wind the pins too high, some- 
times to let them down too low. " And certain 
it is, that nothing destroyeth authority so much 
as the unequal and untimely interchange of 
power pressed too far, and relaxed too much. 

This is true, that the wisdom of all these lat- 
ter times in princes' affairs is rather fine deliv- 
eries, and shiftings of dangers and mischiefs, 
when they are near, than solid and grounded 
courses to keep them aloof: but this is but to 
try masteries with fortune; and let men be- 
ware how they neglect and suffer matter of 
trouble to be prepared. For no man can forbid 
the spark, nor tell whence it may come. The 
difficulties in princes' business are many and 
great; but the greatest difficulty is often in 
their own mind. For it is common with 
princes (saith Tacitus) to will contradictories: 
"Sunt plerumque regum voluntates vehe- 
mentes, et inter se contrariae;" for it is the 
solecism of power to think to command the 
end, and yet not to endure the mean. 

Kings have to deal with their neighbors, 
their wives, their children, their prelates or 
clergy, their nobles, their second nobles or 
gentlemen, their merchants, their commons, 
and their men of war; and from all these arise 
dangers, if care and circumspection be not 

First, for their neighbors, there can no gen- 
eral rule be given (the occasions are so vari- 
able), save one which ever holdeth; which is, 


that princes do keep due sentinel that none of 
their neighbors do overgrow so (by increase of 
territory, by embracing of trade, by approaches, 
or the like), as they become more able to annoy 
them than they were; and this is generally the 
work of standing counsels to foresee and to 
hinder it. During that triumvirate of kings, 
King Henry the Eighth of England, Francis 
the First, King of France, and Charles the 
Fifth, Emperor, there was such a watch kept 
that none of the three could win a palm of 
ground, but the other two would straightway 
balance it, either by confederation, or, if need 
were, by a war; and would not in anywise take 
up peace at interest ; and the like was done by 
that league (which Guicciardini saith was the 
security of Italy), made between Ferdinando, 
King of Naples, Lorenzius Medicis, and Ludo- 
vicus Sforza, potentates, the one of Florence, 
the other of Milan. Neither is the opinion of 
some of the schoolmen to be received, that a 
war cannot justly be made, but upon a prece- 
dent injury or provocation ; for there is no ques- 
tion, but a just fear of an imminent danger, 
though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause 
of a war. 

For their wives, there are cruel examples of 
them. Livia is infamed for the poisoning of 
her husband; Roxolana, Solyman's wife, was 
the destruction of that renowned prince, Sultan 
Mustapha, and otherwise troubled his house 
and succession; Edward the Second of Eng- 
land's Queen had the principal hand in the dis- 
posing and murder of her husband. 


This kind of danger is then to be feared 
chiefly when the wives have plots for the rising 
of their own children, or else that they be ad- 
vou tresses. 

For their children, the tragedies likewise of 
dangers from them have been many; and gen- 
erally the entering of fathers into suspicion of 
their children hath been ever unfortunate. 

The destruction of Mustapha's (that we 
named before) was so fatal to Solyman's line, 
as the succession of the Turks from Solyman's 
until this day is suspected to be untrue, and of 
strange blood; for that Selymus the Second 
was thought to be suppositious. The destruc- 
tion of Crispus, a young prince of rare toward- 
ness, by Constantinus the Great, his father, 
was in like manner fatal to his house ; for both 
Constantinus and Constance, his sons, died 
violent deaths; and Constantinus, his other 
son, did little better, who died indeed of sick- 
ness, but after that Julianus had taken arms 
against him. The destruction of Demetrius, 
son to Philip the Second of Macedon, turned 
upon the father who died of repentance, and 
many like examples there are ; but few or none 
where the fathers had good by such distrust, 
except it were where the sons were up in open 
arms against them ; as was Selymus the First 
against Bajazet, and the three sons of Henry 
the Second, King of England. 

For their prelates, when they are proud and 
great, there is also danger from them; as it 
was in the times of Anselmus and Thomas 
Becket, Archbishops of Canterbury, who with 


their crosiers did almost try it with the King's 
sword ; and yet they had to deal with stout 
and haughty kings: William Rufus, Henry the 
First, and Henry the Second. The danger is 
not from that state, but where it hath a de- 
pendence of foreign authority; or where the 
churchmen come in and are elected, not by the 
collation of the king or particular patrons, but 
by the people. 

For their nobles, to keep them at a distance 
is not amiss; but to depress them may make a 
king more absolute, but less safe, and less able 
to perform anything he desires. It have noted 
it in my History of King Henry the Seventh 
of England, who depressed his nobility, 
whereupon it came to pass that his times 
were full of difficulties and troubles; for the 
nobility, though they continue loyal unto 
him, yet did they not co-operate with him in 
his business, so that in effect he was fain to do 
all things himself. 

For their second nobles, there is not much 
danger from them, being a body dispersed: 
they may sometimes discourse high, but that 
doth little hurt : besides, they are a counterpoise 
to the higher nobility, that they grow not too 
potent; and, lastly, being the most immediate 
in authority with the common people, they do 
best temper popular commotions. 

For their merchants, they are "vena porta;" 
and if they flourish not, a kingdom may have 
good limbs, but will have empty veins, and 
nourish little. Taxes and imposts upon them 
do seldom good to the king's revenue, for that 

6 Bacon 


which he wins in the hundred, he loseth in the 
shire ; the particular rates being increased, but 
the total bulk of trading rather decreased. 

For their commons, there is little danger 
from them, except it be where they have great 
and potent heads, or where you meddle with 
the ooint of religion, or their customs or means 
of life. 

For the men of war, it is a dangerous state 
where they live and remain in a body, and are 
used to donatives whereof we see examples in 
the Janizaries and Praetorian bands of Rome; 
but training of men, and arming them in sev- 
eral places, and under several commanders, 
and without donatives, are things of defense, 
and no danger. 

Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which 
cause good or evil times; and which have 
much veneration, but no rest. All precepts 
concerning kings are in effect comprehended 
in those two remembrances, "Memento quod 
es homo;" and "Memento quod es Deus," or 
"vice Dei." 


The greatest trust between man and man is 
the trust of giving counsel; for in other con- 
fidences men commit the parts of life, their 
lands, their goods, their children, their credit, 
some particular affair; but to such as they 
make their counselors they commit the whole; 
by how much the more they are obliged to all 
faith and integrity. The wisest princes need 


not think it any diminution to their greatness 
or derogation to their sufficiency to rely upon 
counsel. God himselt is not without, but hath 
made it one of the great names of his blessed 
Son, "The Counselor.*' Solomon hath pro- 
nounced that, "In counsel is stability. " 
Things will have their first or second agita- 
tion: if they be not tossed upon the arguments 
of counsel, they will be tossed upon waves of 
fortune; and be full of inconstancy, doing and 
undoing, like the reeling of a drunken man. 
Solomon's son found the force of counsel, as 
his father saw the necessity of it: for the 
beloved kingdom of God was first rent and 
broken by ill counsel; upon which counsel 
there are set for our instruction the two marks 
whereby bad counsel is forever best discerned, 
that it was young counsel for the persons, and 
violent counsel for the matter. 

The ancient times do set forth in figure both 
the incorporation and inseparable conjunction 
of counsel with kings, and the wise and politic 
use of counsel by kings: the one in that they 
say Jupiter did marry Metis, which signifieth 
counsel; whereby they intend that sovereignty 
is married to counsel; the other, in that which 
followeth, which was thus: they say, after 
Jupiter was married to Metis, she conceived by 
him and was with child; but Jupiter suffered 
her not to stay till she brought forth, but eat 
her up: whereby he became himself, with 
child; and was delivered of Pallas armed, out 
of his head. Which monstrous fable contain- 
eth a secret of empire, how kings are to make 


use of their counsel of state: that first they 
ought to refer matters unto them, which is 
the first begetting or impregnation; but when 
they are elaborate, molded and shaped in the 
womb of their council, and grow ripe and ready 
to be brought forth, that then they suffer not 
their council to go through with the resolution 
and direction, as if it depended on them ; but 
take the matter back into their own hands, and 
make it appear to the world that the decrees 
and final directions (which, because they come 
forth with prudence and power, are resembled 
to Pallas armed) , proceeded from themselves ; 
and not only from their authority, but (the 
more to add reputation to themselves) from 
their head and device. 

Let us now speak of the inconveniences of 
counsel, and of the remedies. The inconven- 
iences that have been noted in calling and 
using counsel, are three: first, the revealing of 
affairs, whereby they become less secret; sec- 
ondly, the weakening of the authority of 
princes, as if they were less of themselves; 
thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully coun- 
seled, and more for the good of them that 
counsel than of him that is counseled ; for which 
inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and 
practice of France, in some kings* times, hath 
introduced cabinet councils; a remedy worse 
than the disease. 

As to secrecy, princes are not bound to com- 
municate all matters with all counselors, but 
may extract and select; neither is it necessary, 
that he that consulteth what he should do, 


should declare what he will do ; but let princes 
beware that the unsecreting of their affairs 
comes not from themselves : and, as for cabinet 
councils, it may be their motto, "Plenus rim- 
arum sum:" one futile person, that maketh it 
his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many, 
that know it their duty to conceal. It is true 
there be some affairs which require extreme 
secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or 
two persons besides the king: neither are 
those counsels unprosperous ; for, besides the 
secrecy, they commonly go on constantly in 
one spirit of direction without distraction : but 
then it must be a prudent king, such as is able 
to grind with a hand-mill; and those inward 
counselors had need also be wise men, and 
especially true and trusty to the king's ends, as 
it was with King Henry the Seventh of Eng- 
land, who, in his greatest business imparted 
himself to none, except it were to Morton and 

For weakening of authority, the fable show- 
eth the remedy: nay, the majesty of kings is 
rather exalted than diminished when they are 
in the chair of council ; neither was there ever 
prince bereaved of his dependencies by his 
council, except where there hath been either 
an over-greatness in one counselor, or an 
over-strict combination in divers, which are 
things soon found and holpen. 

For the last inconvenience, that men will 
counsel with an eye, to themselves; certainly, 
tv non inveniet fidem super terram," is meant 
of the nature of times, and not of all particular 


persons. There be that are in nature faithful 
and sincere, and plain and direct, not crafty 
and involved: let princes, above all, draw to 
themselves such natures. Besides, counselors 
are not commonly so united, but that one coun- 
selor keepeth sentinel over another ; so that if 
any do counsel out of faction or private ends, 
it commonly comes to the King's ear: but the 
best remedy is, if princes know their counsel- 
ors, as well as their counselors know them : 

''Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos." 

And on the other side, counselors should not 
be too speculative into their sovereign's per- 
son. The true composition of a counselor is, 
rather to be skilful in their master's business 
than in his nature ; for then he is like to advise 
him, and not to feed his humor. It is of singu- 
lar use to princes if they take the opinions of 
their council both separately and together ; for 
private opinion is more free, but opinion 
before others is more reserved. In private, 
men are more bold in their own humors ; and 
in consort, men are more obnoxious to others' 
humors; therefore it is good to take both; and 
of the inferior sort rather in private, to pre- 
serve freedom ; of the greater, rather in consort, 
to preserve respect. It is in vain for princes 
to take counsel concerning matters if they take 
no counsel likewise concerning persons; for 
all matters are as dead images; and the life of 
the execution of affairs resteth in the good choice 
of persons: neither is it enough to consult 
concerning persons, "secundum genera," as in 


an idea or mathematical description, what the 
kind and character of the person should be; 
for the greatest errors are committed, and the 
most judgment is shown, in the choice of 
individuals. It was truly said, "Optimi con- 
siliarii mortui:" "books will speak plain when 
counselors blanch ;" therefore it is good to be 
conversant in them, specially the books of 
such as themselves have been actors upon the 

The councils at this day in most places are 
but familiar meetings, where matters are 
rather talked on than debated; and they run 
too swift to the order or act of council. It 
were better that in causes of weight the matter 
were propounded one day and not spoken to 
till the next day; "In nocte consilium:" so 
was it done in the commission of union 
between England and Scotland, which was a 
grave and orderly assembly. I commend set 
days for petitions; for both it gives the suitors 
more certainty for their attendance, and it 
frees the meetings for matters of estate, that 
they may "hoc agere." In choice of com- 
mittees for ripening business for the council, 
it is better to choose indifferent persons, than 
to make an indifferency by putting in those 
that are strong on both sides. I commend, 
also, standing commissions; as for trade, for 
treasure, for war, for suits, for some provinces; 
for where there be divers particular councils, 
and but one council of estate (as it is in Spain), 
they are, in effect, no more than standing com- 
missions, save that they have greater authority. 


Let such as are to inform councils out of their 
particular professions (as lawyers, seamen, 
mintmen, and the like), be first heard before 
committees: and then, as occasion serves, 
before the council; and let them not come in 
multitudes, or in a tribumtious manner; for 
that is to clamor councils, not to inform them. 
A long table and a square table, or seats about 
the walls, seem things of form, but are things 
of substance ; for at a long table a few at the 
upper end, in effect, sway all the business; 
but in the other form there is more use of the 
counselors' opinions that sit lower. A king, 
when he presides in council, let him beware 
how he opens his own inclination too much in 
that which he propoundeth ; for else counsel- 
ors will but take the wind of him, and instead of 
giving free council, will sing him a song of 
4 ' placebo. ' 


Fortune is like the market, where many 
times, if you can stay a little, the price will 
fall; and again, it is sometimes like Sibylla's 
offer, which at first offereth the commodity 
at full, then consumeth part and part, and still 
holdeth up the price; for occasion (as it is in 
the common verse) "turneth a bald nobble 
after she hath presented her locks in front, 
and no hold taken;" or, at least, turneth the 
handle of the bottle first to be received, and 
after the belly, which is hard to clasp. There 
is surely no greater wisdom than well to time 

M First put her into some discourse of estate. 

Bacon' a Ess .ys. 

Page 90. 


the beginnings and onsets of things. Dangers 
are no more light, if they once seem light; 
and more dangers have deceived men than 
forced them: nay, it is better to meet some 
dangers half-way, though they come nothing 
near, than to keep too long a watch upon 
approaches; for if a man watch too long, it is 
odds that he will fall asleep. On the other 
side, to be deceived with too long shadows (as 
some have been when the moon was low, and 
shown on their enemies' back), and so to 
shoot off before the time ; or to teach dangers 
to come on by over early buckling toward 
them, is another extreme. The ripeness or 
unripeness of the occasion (as we said) must 
b : very well weighed , and generally it is good 
to commit the beginnings of all great actions 
to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the ends 
to Briareus with his hundred hands; first to 
watch and then to speed ; for the helmet of 
Pluto, which maketh the politic man go invis- 
ible, is secrecy in the council, and celerity in 
the execution ; for when things are once come 
to the execution, there is no secrecy compar- 
able to celerity; like the motion of a bullet 
in the air, which flieth so swift as it outruns 
the eye. 


We take cunning for a sinister or crooked 
wisdom; and certainly there is great differ- 
ence between a cunning man and a wise man, 
not only in point of honesty, but in point of 


ability. There be that can pack the cards, 
and yet cannot play well ; so there are some 
that are good in canvasses and factions, that 
are otherwise weak men. Again, it is one 
thing to understand persons, and another 
thing to understand matters: for many are 
perfect in men's humors that are not capable 
of the real part of business, which is the con- 
stitution of one that hath studied men more 
than books. Such men are fitter for practice 
than for counsel, and they are good but in their 
own alley : turn them to new men, and they 
have lost their aim; so as the old rule, to know 
a fool from a wise man "Mitte ambos nudos 
ad ignotos, et yidebis," doth scarce hold for 
them; and, because these cunning men are 
like haberdashers of small wares, it is not 
amiss to set forth their shop. 

It is a point of cunning to wait upon him 
with whom you speak with your eye, as the 
Jesuits gave it in precept ; for there be many 
wise men that have secret hearts and trans- 
parent countenances : yet this would be done 
with a demure debasing of your eye some- 
times, as the Jesuits also do use. 

Another is, when you have anything to 
obtain of present dispatch, you entertain and 
amuse the party with whom you deal with 
some other discourse, that he be not too much 
awake to make objections. I knew a counsel- 
or and secretary that never came to Queen 
Elizabeth of England with bills to sign, but 
would always first put her into some discourse 


of estate that she might the less mind the 

The like surprise may be made by moving 
things when the party is in haste, and cannot 
stay to consider advisedly of that is moved. 

If a man would cross a business that he 
doubts some other would handsomely and 
effectually move, let him pretend to wish it 
well, and move it himself, in such sort as may 
foil it. 

The breaking off in the midst of that one 
was about to say, as if he took himself up, 
breeds a greater appetite in him with whom 
you confer to know more. 

And because it works better when anything 
seemeth to be gotten from you by question 
than if you offer it of yourself, you may lay a 
bait for a question, by showing another visage 
and countenance than you are wont; to the 
end, to give occasion for the party to ask what 
the matter is of the change, as Nehemiah did, 
4 'And I had not before that time been sad 
before the king." 

In things that are tender and unpleasing, it is 
good to break the ice by some whose words are 
of less weight, and to reserve the more weighty 
voice to come in as by chance, so that he may 
be asked the question upon the other's speech; 
as Marcissus did, in relating to Claudius the 
marriage of Messalina and Silius. 

In things that a man would not be seen in 
himself, it is a point of cunning to borrow the 
name of the world; as to say, "The world 
says/' or "There is a speech abroad." 


I knew one, that when he wrote a letter, he 
would put that which was most material in 
the postscript, as if it had been a by-matter. 

I knew another, that when he came to have 
speech, he would pass over that that he intended 
most : and go forth and come back again, and 
speak of it as of a thing that he had almost 

Some procure themselves to be surprised at 
such times as it is like the party that they 
work upon will suddenly come upon them, 
and to be found with a letter in their hand, or 
doing somewhat which they are not accus- 
tomed, to the end they may be opposed of 
those things which of themselves they are 
desirous to utter. 

It is a point of cunning to let fall those 
words in a man's own name, which he would 
have another man learn and use, and there- 
upon take advantage. I know two that were 
competitors for the secretary's place, in Queen 
Elizabeth's time, and yet kept good quarter 
between themselves, and would confer one 
with another upon the business; and the one 
of them said, that to be a secretary in the 
declination of a monarchy was a ticklish 
thing, and that he did not affect it : the other 
straight caught up those words, and discoursed 
with divers of his friends, that he had no 
reason to desire to be secretary in the declina- 
tion of a monarchy. The first man took hold 
of it, and found means it was told the queen ; 
who, hearing of a declination of a monarchy, 


took it so ill, as she would never after hear of 
the other's suit. 

There is a cunning-, which we in England 
call "the turning of the cat in the pan;" which 
is, when that which a man says to another, he 
lays it as if another had said it to him; and, 
to say truth, it is not easy, when such a mat- 
ter passed between two, to make it appear 
from which of them it first moved and began. 

It is a way that some men have, to glance 
and dart at others by justifying themselves by 
negatives; as to say, "This I do not;" as 
Tigellinus did toward Burrhus, "Se non 
diversas spessed incolumitatem imperatoris 
simpliciter spectare. " 

Some have in readiness so many tales and 
stories, as there is nothing they would insinu- 
ate, but they can wrap it into a tale which 
serveth both to keep themselves more in guard, 
and to make others carry it with more pleasure. 

It is a good point of cunning for a man to 
shape the answer he would have in his own 
words and propositions; for it makes the other 
party stick the less. 

It is strange how long some men will lie in 
wait to speak somewhat they desire to say; 
and how far about they will fetch, and how 
many other matters they will beat over to come 
near it: it is a thing of great patience, but yet 
of much use. 

A sudden, bold, and unexpected question 
both many times surprise a man, and lay him 
open. Like to him, that, having changed his 
name, and walking in Paul's another suddenly 


came behind him and called him by his true 
name, whereat straightway he looked back. 

But these small wares and petty points of 
cunning are infinite, and it were a good deed 
to make a list of them ; for that nothing doth 
more hurt in a state than that cunning men 
pass for wise. 

But certainly some there are that know the 
resorts and falls of business that cannot sink 
into the main of it; like a house that hath con- 
venient stairs and entries, but never a fair 
room ; therefore you shall see them find out 
pretty losses in the conclusion, but are noways 
able to examine or debate matters; and yet 
commonly they take advantage of their inabil- 
ity, and would be thought wits of direction. 
Some build rather upon the abusing of others, 
and (as we now say) putting tricks upon them, 
than upon soundness of their own proceedings: 
but Solomon saith, "Prudens advertit ad 
gressus suos: stultus divertit ad dolos. " 


An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is 
a shrewd thing in an orchard or garden : and 
certainly men that are great lovers of them- 
selves waste the public. Divide with reason 
between self-love and society; and be so true 
to thyself as thou be not false to others, espe- 
cially to thy king and country. It is a poor 
center of a man's actions, himself. It is right 
earth ; for that only stands fast upon his own 


center; whereas all things that have affinity 
with the heavens, move upon the center of 
another, which they benefit. The referring of 
all to a man's self, is more tolerable in a sov- 
ereign prince, because themselves are not only 
themselves, but their good and evil is at the 
peril of the public fortune; but it is a desper- 
ate evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in 
a republic ; for whatsoever affairs pass such a 
man's hands, he crooketh them to his own 
ends, which must needs be often eccentric to 
the ends of his master or state ; therefore let 
princes or states choose such servants as have 
not this mark; except they mean their service 
should be made the accessory. That which 
maketh the effect more pernicious is, that 
all proportion is lost ; it were disproportionate 
enough for the servant's good to be preferred 
before the master's; but yet it is a greater 
extreme, when a little good of the servant 
shall carry things against a great good of the 
master's: and yet that is the case of bad 
officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, 
and other false and corrupt servants; which 
set a bias upon their bowl, of their own petty 
ends and envies, to the overthrow of their 
master's great and important affairs, and, for 
the most part, the good such servants receive 
is after the model of their own fortune ; but 
the hurt they sell for that good is after the 
model of their master's fortune; and certainly 
it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they 
will set a house on fire, and it were but to roast 
their eggs; and yet these men many times 


hold credit with their masters because their 
study is but to please them, and profit them- 
selves, and for either respect they will abandon 
the good of their affairs. 

Wisdom for a man's self is, in many 
branches thereof, a depraved thing : it is the 
wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a 
house somewhat before it fall : it is the wis- 
dom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger 
who digged and made room for him : it is the 
wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when 
they would devour. But that which is speci- 
ally to be noted, is, that those which (as Cicero 
says of Pompey) are "sui amantes, sinerivali," 
are any times unfortunate; and whereas they 
have all their times sacrificed to themselves, 
they become in the end themselves sacrifices 
to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings 
they thought by their self-wisdom to have 


As the births of living creatures at first are 
ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are 
the births of time; yet notwithstanding, as 
those that first bring honor into their family 
are commonly more worthy than most that 
succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) 
is seldom attained by imitation ; for ill to man's 
nature as it stands perverted, hath a natural 
motion strongest in continuance; but good, 
as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely, 
every medicine is an innovation, and he that 


will not apply new remedies must expect new 
evils; for time is the greatest innovator; and 
if time of course alter things to the worse, and 
wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the 
better, what shall be the end? It is true, that 
what is settled by custom, though it be not 
good, yet at least it is fit; and those things 
which have long gone together are, as it were, 
confederate within themselves; whereas new 
things piece not so well ; but, though they help 
by their utility, yet they trouble by their in- 
conformity: besides, they are like strangers, 
more admired and less favored. All this is 
true, if time stood still: which, contrariwise, 
moveth so round, that a froward retention of 
custom is as turbulent a thing as an innovation ; 
and they that reverence too much old times 
are but a scorn to the new. It were good, 
therefore, that men in their innovations would 
follow the example of time itself, which, 
indeed, innovateth greatly, but quietly, and 
by degrees scarce to be perceived ; for other- 
wise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for; and 
ever it mends some and pairs other; and he 
that is holpen, takes it for a fortune, and 
thanks the time; and he that is hurt, for a 
wrong, and imputeth it to the author. It is 
good also not to try experiments in states, 
except the necessity be urgent, or the utility 
evident; and well to beware that it be the 
reformation that draweth on the change, and 
not the desire of change that pretendeth the 
reformation; and, lastly, that the novelty, 
though it be not rejected, yet be held for a 

7 Bacon 


suspect, and, as the Scripture saith, "That we 
make a stand upon the ancient way, and, then 
look about us, and discover what is the straight 
and right way, and so to walk in it. ' ' 


Affected dispatch is one of the most danger- 
ous things to business that can be: it is like 
that which the physicians call predigestion, or 
hasty digestion, which is sure to fill the body 
full of crudities, and secret seeds of diseases: 
therefore, measure not dispatch by the times 
of sitting, but by the advancement of the busi- 
ness: and, as in races, it is not the large stride, 
or high lift, that makes the speed; so in busi- 
ness, the keeping close to the matter, and not 
taking of it too much at once, procure th dis- 
patch. It is the care of some, only to come off 
speedily for the time, or to contrive some false 
periods of business, because they may seem 
men of dispatch : but it is one thing to abbrevi- 
ate by contracting, another by cutting off; 
and business so handled at several sittings, or 
meetings, goeth commonly backward and for- 
ward in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise 
man that had it for a by-word, when he saw 
men hasten to a conclusion, "Stay a little, that 
we may make an end the sooner." 

On the other side, true dispatch is a rich 
thing; for time is the measure of business, as 
money is of wares; and business is bought at 
a dear hand where there is small dispatch. 
The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted 


to be of small dispatch: "Mi venga la muerte 
de Spagna;" — "Let my death come from 
Spain;" for then it will be sure to be long in 

Give good hearing to those that give the 
first information in business, and rather direct 
them in the beginning, than interrupt them in 
the continuance of their speeches; for he that 
is put out of his own order will go forward and 
backward, and be more tedious while he waits 
upon his memory, than he could have been if 
he had gone on in his own course; but some- 
times it is seen that the moderator is more 
troublesome than the actor. 

Iterations are commonly loss of time ; but 
there is no such gain of time as to iterate often 
the state of the question ; for it chaseth away 
many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. 
Long and curious speeches are as fit for dis- 
patch as a robe, or mantle, with a long train, 
is for a race. Prefaces, and passages, and 
excusations, and other speeches of reference to 
the person, are great wastes of time; and 
though they seem to proceed of modesty, they 
are bravery. Yet beware of being too material 
when there is any impediment, or obstruction 
in men's wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever 
requireth preface of speech, like a fomentation 
to make the unguent enter. 

Above all things, order and distribution, and 
singling out of parts, is the life of dispatch; 
so as the distribution be not too subtile : for he 
that doth not divide will never enter well into 
business; and he that divideth too much will 



never come out of it clearly. To choose time 
is to save time; and an unseasonable motion is 
but beating the air. There be three parts of 
business: the preparation; the debate, or 
examination; and the perfection. Whereof, if 
you look for dispatch, let the middle only be the 
work of many, and the first and last the work 
of few. The proceeding, upon somewhat con- 
ceived in writing, doth for the most part facil- 
itate dispatch; for though it should be wholly 
rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of 
direction than an indefinite, as ashes are more 
generative than dust. 


It hath been an opinion, that the French are 
wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem 
wiser than they are ; but howsoever it be be- 
tween nations, certainly, it is so between man 
and man; for as the apostle saith of godliness, 
" Having a show of godliness, but denying the 
power thereof;" so certainly there are, in 
points of wisdom and sufficiency, that do noth- 
ing, or little very solemnly; 4i magno conatu 
nugas. " It is a ridiculous thing, and fit for a 
satire to persons of judgment, to see what 
shifts these formalists have, and what pros- 
pectives to make superfices to seem body, that 
hath depth and bulk. Some are so close and 
reserved as they will not show their wares but 
by a dark light, and seem always to keep back 
somewhat; and when they know within them- 
selves they speak of that they do not well 


know, would nevertheless seem to others to 
know of that which they may not well speak. 
Some help themselves with countenance and 
gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith 
of Piso, that when he answered him he fetched 
one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent 
the other down to his chin ; "Respondes, altero 
ad frontem sublato, altero ad mentum depresso 
supercilio; crudelitatem tibi non placere. " 
Some think to bear it by speaking a great 
word, and being peremptory; and go on, and 
take by admittance that which they cannot 
make good. Some, whatsoever is beyond 
their reach, will seem to despise, or make light 
of it as impertinent or curious: and so would 
have their ignorance seem judgment. Some 
are never without a difference, and commonly 
by amusing men with a subtilty, blanch the 
matter; of whom A. Gellius saith, "Hominem 
delirum, qui verborum minutiis rerum frangit 
pondera. '' Of which kind also Plato, in his 
Protagoras, bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and 
maketh him make a speech that consisteth of 
distinctions from the beginning to the end. 
Generally such men, in all deliberations, find 
ease to be of the negative side, and affect a 
credit to object and foretell difficulties; for 
when propositions are denied, there is an end 
of them ; but if they be allowed, it requireth a 
new work: which false point of wisdom is the 
bane of business. To conclude, there is no 
decaying merchant, or inward beggar, hath so 
many tricks to uphold the credit of wealth as 
these empty persons have to maintain the 


credit of their sufficiency. Seeming wise men 
may make shift to get opinion ; but let no man 
choose them for employment; for certainly, 
you were better take for business a man some- 
what absurd than over-formal. 


It had been hard for him that spake it to 
have put more truth and untruth together in 
few words than in that speech, "Whosoever is 
delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or 
a god:" for it is most true, that a natural and 
secret hatred and aversion toward society in 
any man hath somewhat of the savage beast; 
but it is most untrue that it should have any 
character at all of the divine nature, except it 
proceed, not out of a desire in solitude, but out 
of a love and desire to sequester a man's self 
for a higher conversation: such as is found to 
have been falsely and feignedly in some of the 
heathen ; as Epimenides, the Candian ; Numa, 
the Roman; Empedocles, the Sicilian; and 
Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really in 
divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers 
of the Church. But little do men perceive 
what solitude is, and how far it extendeth; 
for a crowd is not company, and faces are but 
a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling 
cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin 
adage meeteth with it a little, "Magna civitas, 
magna solitudo;" because in a great town 
friends are scattered, so that there is not that 
fellowship, for the most part, which is in less 


neighborhoods; but we may go further, and 
aitirm most truly, that it is a mere and miser- 
able solitude to want true friends, without 
which the world is but a wilderness ; and even 
in this sense also of solitude, whosoever in the 
frame of his nature and affections is unfit for 
friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not 
from humanity. 

A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and 
discharge of the fulness and swellings of the 
heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and 
induce. We know diseases of stoppings and 
suffocations are the most dangerous in the 
body* and it is not much otherwise in the 
mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, 
steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for 
the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no 
receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to 
whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, 
hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever 
lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of 
civil shrift or confession. 

It is a strange thing to observe how high a 
rate great kings and monarchs do set upon this 
fruit of friendship whereof we speak : so great, 
as they purchase it many times at the hazard 
of their own safety and greatness: for princes, 
in regard of the distance of their fortune from 
that of their subjects and servants, cannot 
gather this fruit, except (to make themselves 
capable thereof) they raise some persons to be 
as it were companions, and almost equals to 
themselves, which many times sorteth to in- 
convenience. The modern languages give 


unto such persons the name of favorites, or 
privadoes, as if it were matter of grace, or con- 
versation ; but the Roman name attaineth the 
true use and cause thereof, naming them 
"participes curarum ;" for it is that which tieth 
the knot: and we see plainly that this hath 
been done, not by weak and passionate princes 
only, but by the wisest and most politic that 
ever reigned, who have oftentimes joined to 
themselves some of their servants, whom both 
themselves have called friends, and allowed 
others likewise to call them in the same man- 
ner, using the word which is received between 
private men. 

L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised 
Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that 
height that Pompey vaunted himself for 
Sylla's overmatch; for when he had carried 
the consulship for a friend of his, against the 
pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little 
resent thereat, and began to speak great, Pom- 
pey turned upon him again, and in effect bade 
him be quiet; for that more men adored the 
sun rising than the sun setting. With Julius 
Caesar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that in- 
terest, as he set him down in his testament for 
heir in remainder after his nephew ; and this 
was the man that had power with him to draw 
him forth to his death : for when Caesar would 
have discharged the senate, in regard of some 
ill presages, and specially a dream of Calphur- 
nia, this man lifted him gently by the arm out 
of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not 
dismiss the senate till his wife had dreamt a 


better dream; and it seemeth his favor was so 
great, as Antonius, in a letter which is recited 
verbatim in one of Cicero's Philippics, calleth 
him "venefica," — "witch;" as if he had en- 
chanted Caesar. Augustus raised Agrippa 
(though of mean birth) to that height, as, when 
he consulted with Maecenas about the marriage 
of his daughter Julia, Maecenas took the liberty 
to tell' him, that he must either marry his 
daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life: 
there was no third way, he had made him so 
great. With Tiberius Caesar, Sejanus had 
ascended to that height, as they two were 
termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. 
Tiberius in a letter to him, saith, "Haec pro 
amicitia nostra non occultavi/' and the whole 
senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to 
a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of 
friendship between them two. The like, or 
more, was between Septimius Severus and 
Plautianus; for he forced his eldest son to 
marry the daughter of Plautianus, and would 
often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to 
his son ; and did write also, in a letter to the 
senate, by these words: "I love the man so 
well, as I wish he may over-live me." Now, 
if these princes had been as a Trajan, or a 
Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought 
that this had proceeded of an abundant good- 
ness of nature; but being men so wise, of such 
strength and severity of mind, and so extreme 
lovers of themselves, as all these were, it prov- 
eth most plainly that they found their own 
felicity (though as great as ever happened to 

8 Bacon 


mortal men) but as an half-piece, except they 
might have a friend to make it entire; and 
yet, which is more, they were princes that had 
wives, sons, nephews and yet all these could 
not supply the comfort of friendship. 

It is not to be forgotten what Comineus 
observeth of his first master, Duke Charles the 
Hardy, namely, that he would communicate 
his secrets with none and least of all, those 
secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon 
he goeth on, and saith, that toward his latter 
time that closeness did impair and a little per- 
ish his understanding. Surely, Comineus 
might have made the same judgment also, if it 
had pleased him, of his second master, Louis 
the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his 
tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is 
dark, but true, "Cor ne edito," — "eat not the 
heart." Certainly, if a man would give it a 
hard phrase, those that want friends to open 
themselves unto are cannibals of their own 
hearts: but one thing is most admirable 
(w T herewith I will conclude this first fruit of 
friendship), which is, that this communicating 
of a man's self to his friend works two contrary 
effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth 
griefs in halves; for there is no man that im- 
parteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the 
more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to 
his friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it 
is, in truth, of operation upon a man's mind of 
like virtue as the alchymists used to attribute 
to their stone for man's body, that it worketh 
all contrary effects, but still to the good and 


benefit of nature: but yet, without praying in 
aid of alchymists, there is a manifest image of 
this in the ordinary course of nature ; for, in 
bodies, union strengtheneth and cherisheth any 
natural action : and, on the other side, weak- 
eneth and dulleth any violent impression; and 
even so is it of minds. 

The second fruit of friendship is healthful 
and sovereign for the understanding, as the 
first is for the affections ; for friendship maketh 
indeed a fair day in the affections from storm 
and tempests, but it maketh daylight in the 
understanding, out of darkness and confusion 
of thoughts: neither is this to be understood 
only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth 
from his friend; but before you come to that, 
certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind 
fraught with many thoughts, his wits and 
understanding do clarify and break up in the 
communicating and discoursing with another; 
he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he mar- 
shaleth them more orderly; he seeth how they 
look when they are turned into words; finally, 
he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more 
by an hour's discourse than by a day's medita- 
tion. It was well said by Themistocles to the 
king of Persia, "That speech was like cloth of 
Arras, opened and put abroad; whereby the 
imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in 
thoughts they lie but as in packs. " Neither is 
this second fruit of friendship, in opening the 
understanding, restrained only to such friends 
as are able to give a man counsel (they indeed 
are best), but even without that a man learn- 


eth of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts 
to light, and whetteth his wits as against a 
stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a man 
were better relate himself to a statue or 
picture, than to suffer his thoughts to pass in 

Add now, to make this second fruit of friend- 
ship complete, that other point which lieth 
more open, and falleth within vulgar observa* 
tion : which is faithful counsel from a friend. 
Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas, 
"Dry light is ever the best:" and certain it is, 
that the light that a man receiveth by counsel 
from another, is drier and purer than that 
which cometh from his own understanding and 
judgment; which is ever infused and drenched 
in his affections and customs. So as there is 
as much difference between the counsel that a 
friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, 
as there is between the counsel of a friend and 
of a flatterer ; for there is no such flatterer as 
is a man's self, and there is no such remedy 
against flattery of a man's self as the liberty of 
a friend. Counsel is of two sorts; the one 
concerning manners, the other concerning 
business: for the first, the best preservative 
to keep the mind in health, is the faithful 
admonition of a friend. The calling of a man's 
self to a strict account is a medicine sometimes 
too piercing and corrosive ; reading good books 
of morality is a little flat and dead; observing 
our faults in others is sometimes improper for 
our case ; but the best recipe (best I say to 
work and best to take) is the admonition of a 


friend. It is a strange thing to behold what 
gross errors and extreme absurdities many 
(especially of the greater sort) do commit for 
want of a friend to tell them of them, to the 
great damage both of their fame and fortune : 
for, as St. James saith, they are as men "that 
look sometimes into a glass, and presently for- 
get their own shape and favor. " As for bus- 
iness, a man may think, if he will, that two 
eyes see no more than one ; or, that a game- 
ster seeth always more than a looker-on ; or, 
that a man in anger is as wise as he that hath 
said over the four and twenty letters; or, that 
a musket may be shot off as well upon the arm 
as upon a rest; and such other fond and high 
imaginations, to think himself all in all: but 
when all is done, the help of good counsel is 
that which setteth business straight: and if 
any man think that he will take counsel, but it 
shall be by pieces; asking counsel in one bus- 
iness of one man, and in another business of 
another man, it is well (that is to say, better, 
perhaps, than if he asked none at all) ; but he 
runneth two dangers; one, that he shall not be 
faithfully counseled; for it is a rare thing, ex- 
cept it be from a perfect and entire friend, to 
have counsel given, but such as shall be bowed 
and crooked to some ends which he hath that 
giveth it: the other, that he shall have counsel 
given, hurtful and unsafe (though with good 
meaning), and mixed partly of mischief, and 
partly of remedy; even as if you would call a 
physican, that is thought good for the cure of 
the disease you complain of, but is unac- 


quainted with your body ; and, therefore, may 
put you in a way for a present cure, but over- 
throweth your health in some other kind, and 
so cure the disease, and kill the patient : but a 
friend, that is wholly acquainted with a man's 
estate will beware, by furthering any present 
business, how he dasheth upon other incon- 
venience, and therefore, rest not upon scattered 
counsels; they will rather distract and mis- 
lead, than settle and direct. 

After these two noble fruits of friendship 
(peace in the affections, and support of the 
judgment), followeth the last fruit, which is 
like the pomegranate, full of many kernels; I 
mean aid, and bearing a part in all actions and 
occasions. Here the best way to represent to 
life the manifold use of friendship, is to cast 
and see how many things there are which a man 
cannot do himself; and then it will appear 
that it was a sparing speech of the ancients to 
say, "that a friend is another himself;" for 
that a friend is far more than himself. Men 
have their time, and die many times in desire 
of some things which they principally take to 
heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing 
of a work, or the like. If a man have a true 
friend, he may rest almost secure that the care 
of those things will continue after him; so that 
a man hath, as it were, two lives in his desires. 
A man hath a body, and that body is confined 
to a place; but where friendship is, all offices 
of life are, as it were, granted to him and his 
deputy : for he may exercise them by his friend. 
How many things are there, which a man can- 


not, with any face or comeliness, say or do 
himself? A man can scarce allege his own 
merits with modesty, much less extol them : a 
man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate, 
or beg, and a number of the like : but all these 
things are graceful in a friend's mouth, which 
are blushing in a man's own. So again, a 
man's person hath many proper relations 
which he cannot put off. A man cannot speak 
to his son but as a father; to his wife but as 
a husband; to his enemy but upon terms; 
whereas a friend may speak as the case requires, 
and not as it sorteth with the person : but to 
enumerate these things were endless; I have 
given the rule, where a man cannot fitly play 
his own part, if he have not a friend, he may 
quit the stage. 


Riches are for spending, and spending for 
honor and good actions; therefore extraordi- 
nary expense must be limited by the worth of 
the occasion ; for voluntary undoing may be as 
well for a man's country as for kingdom of 
heaven ; but ordinary expense ought to be lim- 
ited by a man's estate, and governed with such 
regard, as it be within his compass; and not 
subject to deceit and abuse of servants; and 
ordered to the best show, that the bills may be 
less than the estimation abroad. Certainly, if 
a man will keep but of even hand, his ordi- 
nary expenses ought to be but to the half of his 
receipts; and if he think to wax rich, but to 


the third part. It is no baseness for the great- 
est to descend and look into their own estate. 
Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, 
but doubting to bring themselves into melan- 
choly, in respect they shall find it broken : but 
wounds cannot be cured without searching. 
He that cannot look into his own estate at all, 
had need both choose well those whom he 
employeth, and change them often; for now 
are more timorous and less subtle. He that 
can look into his estate but seldom, it behoveth 
him to turn all to certainties. A man had 
need, if he be plentiful in some kind of ex- 
pense, to be as saving again in some other; as 
if he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in 
apparel : if he be plentiful in the hall, to be 
saving in the stable : and the like. For he that 
is plentiful in expense of all kinds will hardly 
be preseived from decay. In clearing of a 
man's estate, he may as well hurt himself in 
being too sudden, as in letting it run on too 
long ; for hasty selling is commonly as disad- 
vantageable as interest. Besides, he that clears 
at once will relapse; for finding himself out of 
straits, he will revert to his customs : but he 
that cleareth by degrees induceth a habit of 
frugality, andgaineth as well upon his mind as 
upon his estate. Certainly, who hath a state 
to repair, may not despise small things; and, 
commonly, it is less dishonorable to abridge 
petty charges than to stoop to petty gettings. 
A man ought warily to begin charges, which 
once begun will continue : but in matters that 
return not, he may be more magnificent. 



The speech of Themistocles, the Athenian, 
which was haughty and arrogant, in taking so 
much to himself, had been a grave and wise 
observation and censure, applied at large to 
others. Desired at a feast to touch a lute, he 
said, "He could not fiddle, but yet he could 
make a small town a great city." These 
words (holpen a little with a metaphor) may 
express two different abilities in those that deal 
in business of estate ; for if a true survey be 
taken of counselors and statesmen, there may 
be found (though rarely) those which can make 
a small state great, and yet cannot fiddle; as, 
on the other side, there will be found a great 
many that can fiddle very cunningly, but yet 
are so far from being able to make a small 
state great, as their gift lieth the other way; to 
bring a great and flourishing estate to ruin and 
decay. And certainly, those degenerate arts 
and shifts whereby many counselors and gov- 
ernors gain both favor with their masters and 
estimation with the vulgar, deserve no better , 
name than fiddling; being things rather pleas- 
ing for the time, and graceful to themselves 
only, than tending to the weal and advance- 
ment of the state which they serve. There 
are also (no doubt) counselors and governors 
which many be held sufficient, "negotiis 
pares," able to manage affairs, and to keep 
them from precipices and manifest inconven- 
iences; which, nevertheless, are far from the 

8 Bacon 


ability to raise and amplify an estate in power, 
means, and fortune: but he the workmen what 
they may be, let us speak of the work ; that 
is, the true greatness of kingdoms and estates, 
and the means thereof. An argument fit for 
great and mighty princes to have in their 
hand; to the end that neither by over-measur- 
ing their forces, they lose themselves in vain 
enterprises: nor, on the other side, by under- 
valuing them, they descend to fearful and 
pusillanimous counsels. 

The greatness of an estate, in bulk and terri- 
tory, doth fall under measure ; and the great- 
ness of finances and revenues doth fall under- 
computation. The population may appear by 
musters; and the number and greatness of 
cities and towns by cards and maps; but yet 
there is not anything amongst civil affairs 
more subject to error than the right valuation 
and true judgment concerning the power and 
forces of an estate. The kingdom of heaven 
is compared, not to any great kernel, or nut, 
but to a grain of mustard seed ; which is one 
of the least grains, but hath in it a property 
and spirit hastily to get up and spread. So 
are there states great in territory, and yet not 
apt to enlarge or command; and some that 
have but a small dimension of stem, and yet 
apt to be the foundations of great monarchies. 

Walled towns, stored arsenals and armories, 
goodly races of horse, chariots of war, ele- 
phants, ordnance, artillery, and the like; all 
this is but a sheep in a lion's skin, except the 
breed and disposition of the people be stout 


and warlike. Nay, number itself in armies 
importeth not much, where the people is of 
weak courage; for, as, Virgil saith, "It never 
troubles a wolf how many the sheep be. " The 
army of the Persians in the plains of Arbela 
was such a vast sea of people, as it did some- ■ 
what astonish the commanders in Alexander's 
army, who came to him, therefore, and wished 
him to set upon them by night; but he an- 
swered, "He will not pilfer the victory:" and 
the defeat was easy. When Tigranes, the 
Armenian, being encamped upon a hill with 
four hundred thousand men, discovered the 
army of the Romans, being not above fourteen 
thousand, marching toward him, he made 
himself merry with it, and said, "Yonder men 
are too many for an ambassage, and too few 
for a fight;" but before the sun set, he found 
them enow to give him the chase with infinite 
slaughter. Many are the examples of the 
great odds between number and courage: so 
that a man may truly make a judgment, that 
the principal point of greatness in any state is 
to have a race of military men. 

Neither is money the sinews of war (as it is 
trivially said), where the sinews of men's arms 
in base and effeminate people are failing: for 
Solon said well to Croesus (when in ostentation 
he showed him his gold), "Sir, if any other, 
come that hath better iron than you, he wily\ 
be master of all this gold. " Therefore, let 
any prince, or state, think soberly of his 
forces, except his militia of natives be of good 
and valiant soldiers; and let princes, on the 


other side, that have subjects of martial dispo- 
sition, know their own strength, unless they be 
otherwise wanting unto themselves. As for 
mercenary forces (which is the help in this 
case), all examples show that, whatsoever 
estate, or prince, doth rest upon them, he may 
spread his feathers for a time, but he will 
mew them soon after. 

The blessing of Judah and Issachar will 
never meet; that the same people, or nation, 
should be both the lion's whelp and the ass be- 
tween burdens; neither will it be, that a 
people overlaid with taxes should ever become 
valiant and martial. It is true that taxes, lev- 
ied by consent of the estate, do abate men's 
courage less ; as it hath been seen notably in 
the excises of the Low Countries; and, in some 
degree, in the subsidies of England; for, you 
must note, that we speak now of the heart, and 
not of the purse; so that, although the same 
tribute and tax laid by consent or by impos- 
ing, be all one to the purse, yet it works 
diversely upon the courage. So that you may 
conclude, that no people overcharged with trib- 
ute is fit for empire. 

Let states that aim at greatness take heed 
how their nobility and gentlemen do multiply 
too fast; for that maketh the common subject 
grow to be a peasant and base swain, driven 
out of heart, and in effect but the gentleman's 
laborer. Even as you may see in coppice 
woods ; if you leave your staddles too thick, 
you shall never have clean underwood, but 
shrubs and bushes. So in countries, if the 


gentlemen be too many, the commons will be 
base ; and you will bring it to that, that not 
the hundred poll will be fit for a helmet: espe- 
cially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of 
an army ; and so there will be great popula- 
tion and little strength. This which I speak 
of hath been nowhere better seen than by com- 
paring of England and France ; whereof Eng- 
land, though far less in territory and popula- 
tion, hath been (nevertheless) an overmatch ; 
in regard the middle people of England make 
good soldiers, which the peasants of France do 
not ; and herein the device of King Henry the 
Seventh (whereof I have spoken largely in the 
history of his life) was profound and admir- 
able; in making farms and houses of husban- 
dry of a standard ; that is, maintained with such 
a proportion of land unto them as may breed 
a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no 
servile condition ; and to keep the plough in the 
hands of the owners, and not mere hirelings; 
and thus indeed you shall attain to Virgil's 
character, which he gives to ancient Italy : 

"Terra potens armis atque ubere glebae. M 

Neither is that state (which, for anything I 
know, is almost peculiar to England, and 
hardly to be found anywhere else, except it be, 
perhaps, in Poland) to be passed over; I mean 
the state of free servants and attendants upon 
noblemen and gentlemen, which are no way 
inferior unto the yeomanry of arms; and, 
therefore, out of all question, the splendor and 
magnificence, and great retinues, and hospi- 


tality of noblemen and gentlemen received into 
custom, do much conduce unto martial great- 
ness; whereas, contrariwise, the close and re- 
served living of noblemen and gentlemen 
causeth a penury of military forces. 

By all means it is to be procured that the 
trunk of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy be 
great enough to bear the branches and the 
boughs; that is, that the natural subjects of the 
crown, or state, bear a sufficient proportion to 
the stronger subjects that they govern; there- 
fore all states that are liberal of naturalization 
toward strangers are fit for empire; for to 
think that a handful of people can, with the 
greatest courage and policy in the world, em- 
brace too large extent of dominion, it may hold 
for a time, but it will fail suddenly. The 
Spartans were a nice people in point of natu- 
ralization; whereby, while they kept their 
compass, they stood firm ; but when they did 
spread, and their boughs were becoming too 
great for their stem, they became a windfall 
upon the sudden. Never any state was, in this 
point, so open to receive strangers into their 
body as were the Romans; therefore it sorted 
with them accordingly, for they grew to the 
greatest monarchy. Their manner was to 
grant naturalization (which they called "jus 
civitatis"), and to grant it in the highest de- 
gree, that is, not only "jus commercii, jus 
connubii, jus haereditatis;" but also, "jus 
suffragii," and "jus honorum;" and this not to 
singular persons alone, but likewise to whole 
families; yea, to cities, and sometimes to 


nations. Add to this their custom of planta- 
tion of colonies, whereby the Roman plant was 
removed into the soil of other nations, and, 
putting both constitutions together, you will 
say, that it was not the Romans that spread 
upon the world, but it was the world that 
spread upon the Romans; and that was the 
sure way of greatness. I have marveled 
sometimes at Spain, how they clasp and con- 
tain so large dominions with so few natural 
Spaniards; but sure the whole compass of 
Spain is a very great body of a tree, far above 
Rome and Sparta at the first; and besides, 
though they have not had that usage to natu- 
ralize liberally, yet they have that which is 
next to it; that is, to employ, almost indiffer- 
ently, all nations in their militia of ordinary 
soldiers ; yea, and sometimes in their highest 
commands ; nay, it seemeth at this instant they 
are sensible of this want of natives ; as by the 
pragmatical sanction, now published, appear- 

It is certain, that sedentary and within-door 
arts, and delicate manufacturers (that require 
rather the figure than the arm), have in their 
nature a contrariety to a military disposition; 
and generally all warlike people are a little 
idle, and love danger better than travail; 
neither must they be too much broken of it, if 
they shall be preserved in vigor; therefore it 
was great advantage in the ancient states of 
Sparta, Athens, Rome, and others, that they 
had the use of slaves, which commonly did rid 
those manufacturers; but that is abolished, in 


greatest part, by the Christian law. That 
which cometh nearest to it is, to leave those 
arts chiefly to strangers (which, for that pur- 
pose, are the more easily to be received), and 
to contain the principal bulk of the vulgar 
natives within those three kinds, tillers of the 
ground, free servants, and handicraftsmen of 
strong and manly arts; as smiths, masons, 
carpenters, etc. , not reckoning professed sol- 

But, above all, for empire and greatness, it 
importeth most, that a nation do profess arms 
as their principal honor, study, and occupa- 
tion ; for the things which we formerly have 
spoken of are but habilitations toward arms; 
and what is habilitation without intention and 
act? Romulus, after his death (as they report 
or feign), sent a present to the Romans, that 
above all they should intend arms, and then 
they should prove the greatest empire of the 
world. The fabric of the state of Sparta was 
wholly (though not wisely) framed and com- 
posed to that scope and end; the Persians and 
Macedonians had it for a flash; the Gauls, 
Germans, Goths, Saxons, Normans, and others, 
had it for a time : the Turks have it at this 
day, though in great declination. Of Chris- 
tian Europe, they that have it are in effect only 
the Spaniards : but it is so plain, that every 
man profiteth in that he most intendeth, that 
it needeth not to be stood upon : it is enough 
to point at it ; that no nation which doth not 
directly profess arms, may look to have great- 
ness fall into their mouths; and, on the other 


side, it is a most certain oracle of time, that 
those states that continue long in that profes- 
sion (as the Romans and Turks principally 
have done) do wonders; and those that have 
professed arms but for an age have, notwith- 
standing, commonly attained that greatness in 
that age which maintained them long after, 
when their profession and exercise of arms had 
grown to decay. 

Incident to this point is, for a state to have 
those laws or customs which may reach forth 
unto them just occasions (as may be pre- 
tended) of war; for there is that justice im- 
printed in the nature of men, that they enter 
not upon wars (whereof so many calamities 
do ensue), but upon some, at the least specious 
grounds and quarrels. The Turk hath at 
hand, for cause of war, the propagation of 
his law or sect, a quarrel that he may always 
command. The Romans, though they esteemed 
the extending the limits of their empire to be 
great honor to their generals when it was 
done, yet they never rested upon that alone to 
begin a war: first, therefore, let nations that 
pretend to greatness have this, that they be 
sensible of wrongs, either upon borderers, 
merchants, or politic ministers; and that they 
sit not too long upon a provocation : secondly, 
let them be pressed and ready to give aids 
and succors to their confederates ; as it ever 
was with the Romans; insomuch, as if the 
confederate had leagues defensive with divers 
other states, and, upon invasion offered, did 
implore their aids severally, yet the Romans 


would ever be the foremost, and leave it to 
none other to have the honor. As for the wars, 
which were anciently made on the behalf of a 
kind of party of tacit conformity of estate, I 
do not see how they may be well justified: as 
when the Romans made a war for the libertv 
of Graecia: or, when the Lacedaemonians and 
Athenians made wars to set up or pull down 
democracies and oligarchies: or when wars 
were made by foreigners, under the pretense 
of justice or protection, to deliver the subjects 
of others from tyranny and oppression; and 
the like. Let it suffice, that no estate expect 
to be great, that is not awake upon any just 
occasion of arming. 

No body can be healthful without exercise, 
neither natural body nor politic ; and, certainly, 
to a kingdom or estate, a just and honorable 
war is the true exercise. A civil war, indeed, 
is like the heat of a fever ; but a foreign war 
is like the heat of exercise, and serveth to 
keep the body in health ; for in a slothful 
peace, both courages will effeminate and man- 
ners corrupt: but howsoever it be for happi- 
ness, without all question for greatness, it 
maketh to be still for the most part in arms 
and the strength of a veteran army (though 
it be a chargeable business), always on foot, 
is that which commonly giveth the law, or at 
least, the reputation amongst all neighbor 
states, as may well be seen in Spain, which 
hath had, in one part or other, a veteran army 
almost continually, now by the space of six- 
score years. 


To be master of the sea is an abridgment of 
a monarchy. Cicero, writing 'to Atticus, of 
Pompey's preparation against Caesar, saith, 
"Consilium Pompeii plane Themistocleum 
est; putat enim, qui mari potitur, eum rerum 
potiri;" and without doubt, Pompey had tired 
out Caesar, if upon vain confidence he had 
not left that way. We see the great effects 
of battles by sea: the battle of Actium de- 
cided the empire of the world; the battle of 
Lepanto arrested the greatness of the Turk. 
There may be many examples where sea fights 
have been final to the war: but this is when 
princes, or states have set up their rest upon 
battles. But this much is certain; that he 
that commands the sea is at great liberty, and 
may take as much and as little of the war as 
he will; whereas those that be strongest by 
land are many times, nevertheless, in great 
straits. Surely, at this day, with us of Europe 
the vantage of strength at sea (which is one 
of the principal doweries of this kingdom of 
Great Britain) is great; both because most of 
the kingdoms of Europe are not merely in- 
land, but girt with the sea most part of their 
compass; and because the wealth of both 
Indies seems, in great part, but an accessory 
to the command of the seas. 

The wars of latter ages seem to be made 
in the dark, in respect of the glory and honor 
which reflected upon men from the wars in 
ancient time. There be now, for martial 
encouragement, some degrees and orders of 
chivalry, which, nevertheless, are conferred 


promiscuously upon soldiers and no soldiers; 
and some remembrance perhaps upon the 
escutcheon, and some hospitals . for maimed 
soldiers, and such like things; but in ancient 
times, the trophies erected upon the place of 
the victory; the funeral laudatives and monu- 
ments for those that died in the wars ; the 
crowns and garlands personal; the style of 
emperor with the great kings of the world 
after borrowed; the triumphs of the generals 
upon their return; the great donatives and 
largesses upon the disbanding of the armies, 
were things able to inflame all men's cour- 
ages; but above all, that of the triumph 
amongst the Romans was not pageants, or 
gaudery, but one of the wisest and noblest 
institutions that ever was: for it contained 
three things ; honor to the general, riches to 
the treasury out of the spoils, and donatives to 
the army : but that honor, perhaps were not 
fit for monarchies, except it be in the person 
of the monarch himself, or his sons; as it came 
to pass in the times of the Roman emperors, 
who did impropriate the actual triumphs to 
themselves and their sons, for such wars as 
they did achieve in person, and left only for 
wars achieved by subjects, some triumphal 
garments and ensigns to the general. To con- 
clude: no man can by care taking (as the 
Scripture saith), tc add a cubit to his stature,' ' 
in this little model of a man's body; but in 
the great frame of kingdoms and common- 
wealths, it is in the power of princes, or 
estates, to add amplitude and greatness to 


their kingdoms for by introducing such ordi- 
nances, constitutions, and customs, as we have 
now touched, they may sow greatness to their 
posterity and succession : but these things are 
commonly not observed, but left to take their 


There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules 
of physic: a man's own observation, what he 
finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, is 
the best physic to preserve health; but it is a 
safer conclusion to say, "This agreeth not well 
with me, therefore I will not continue it;" 
than this, 4t I find no offense of this, therefore 
I may use it:" for strength of nature in youth 
passeth over many excesses which are owing 
a man till his age. Discern of the coming on 
of years, and think not to do the same things 
still ; for age will not be defied. Beware of 
sudden change in any great point of diet, and, 
if necessity force it, fit the rest to it; for it is 
a secret both in nature and state, that it is 
safer to change many things than one. Ex- 
amine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, 
apparel, and the like; and try, in anything 
thou shalt judge hurtful to discontinue it by 
little and little; but so, as if thou dost find any 
inconvenience by the change, thou come back 
to it again: for it is hard to distinguish that 
which is generally held good and wholesome 
from that which is good particularly, and fit 
for thine own body. To be free-minded and 


cheerfully disposed at hours of meat, and of 
sleep and' of exercise, is one of the best pre- 
cepts of long lasting. As for the passions and 
studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, 
anger fretting inwards, subtle and knotty in- 
quisitions, joys and exhilarations in excess* 
sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, 
mirth rather than joy, variety of delights, 
rather than surfeit of them ; wonder and admir- 
ation, and therefore novelties; studies that fill 
the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, 
as histories, fables, and contemplations of 
nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, 
it will be too strange for your body when you 
shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it 
will work no extraordinary effect when sickness 
cometh. I command rather some diet, for 
certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, 
except it be grown into a custom ; for those 
diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. 
Despise no new accident in your body, but ask 
opinion of it. In sickness, respect health prin- 
cipally; and in health, action: for those that 
put their bodies to endure in health, may, in 
most sicknesses which are not very sharp, be 
cured only with diet and tendering. Celsus 
could never have spoken it as a physician, had 
he not been a wise man withal, when he 
giveth it for one of the great precepts of 
health and lasting, that a man do vary and 
interchange contraries, but with an inclina- 
tion to the more benign extreme: use fasting 
and full eating, but rather full eating; watch- 
ing and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and 


exercise, but rather exercise, and the like: so 
shall nature be cherished, and yet taught mas- 
teries. Physicians are some of them so pleas- 
ing and comfortable to the humor of the 
patient, as they press not the true cure of the 
disease: and some others are so regular in 
proceeding according to art not for the disease, 
as they respect not sufficiently the condition 
of the patient. Take one of a middle temper; 
or, if it may not be found in one man, com- 
bine two of either sort; and forget not to call 
as well the best acquainted with your body, 
as the best reputed of for his faculty. 


Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats 
amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight: cer- 
tainly they are to be repressed, or at the least 
well guarded; for they cloud the mind, they 
lose friends, and they check with business, 
whereby business cannot go on currently and 
constantly: they dispose kings to tyranny, 
husbands to jealousy, wise men to irresolution 
and melancholy: they are defects, not in the 
heart, but in the brain; for they take place in 
the stoutest natures, as in the example of 
Henry VII. of England; there was not a more 
suspicious man nor a more stout: and in such 
a composition they do small hurt; for com- 
monly they are not admitted, but with exam- 
ination, whether they be likely or no; but in 
fearful natures they gain ground too fast. 
There is nothing makes a man suspect much 


more than to know little ; and therefore men 
should remedy suspicion by procuring to 
know more, and not to keep their suspicions in 
smother. What would men have? Do they 
think those they employ and deal with are 
saints? Do they not think they will have 
their own ends, and be truer to themselves 
than to them? Therefore there is no better 
way to moderate suspicions, than to account 
upon such suspicions as true, and yet to bridle 
them as false: for so far a man ought to make 
use of suspicions, as to provide, as if that 
should be true that he suspects, yet it may do 
him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of 
itself gathers are but buzzes; but suspicions 
that are artificially nourished, and put into 
men's heads by the tales and whisperings of 
others, have stings. Certainly, the best mean, 
to clear the way in this same wood of suspic- 
ions, is frankly to communicate them with the 
party that he suspects; for thereby he shall 
be sure to know more of the truth of them 
than he did before ; and withal shall make that 
party more circumspect, not to give further 
cause of suspicion. But this would not be 
done to men of base natures; for they, if they 
find themselves once suspected, will never be 
true. The Italian says, "Sospetto licentia- 
fede;" as if suspicion did give a passport to 
faith; but it ought rather to kindle it to dis- 
charge itself. 



Some in their discourse desire rather com- 
mendation of wit, in being able to hold all 
arguments, than of judgment, in discerning 
what is true; as if it were a praise to know 
what might be said, and not what should be 
thought. Some have certain commonplaces 
and themes, wherein they are good, and want 
variety; which kind of poverty is for the most 
part tedious, and, when it is once perceived, 
ridiculous. The honorablest part of talk it to 
give the occasion ; and again to moderate and 
pass to somewhat else; for then a man leads 
the dance. It is good in discourse, and speech 
of conversation, to vary, and intermingle 
speech of the present occasion with argu- 
ments, tales with reasons, asking of questions 
with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest; 
for it is a dull thing to tire, and as we say 
now, to jade anything too far. As for jest, 
there be certain things which ought to be 
privileged from it; namely, religion, matters 
of state, great persons, any man's present 
business of importance, and any case that 
deserveth pity ; yet there be some that think 
their wits have been asleep, except they dart 
out somewhat that is piquant, and to the 
quick; that is a vein which would be bridled; 

"Parce, puer, stimulis et fortuis utere loris." 

And generally, men ought to find the differ- 
ence between saltness and bitterness. Cer- 
tainly he that hath a satirical vein, as he 

9 Bacon 


maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had 
need be afraid of others' memory. He that 
questioneth much, shall learn much, and con- 
tent much ; but especially if he apply his ques.- 
tions to the skill of the persons whom he 
asketh; for he shall give them occasion to 
please themselves in speaking, and himself 
shall continually gather knowledge : but let his 
questions not be troublesome, for that is fit 
for a poser; and let him be sure to leave other 
men their turn to speak : nay if there be any 
that would reign and take up all the time, 
let him find means to take them off, and to 
bring others on, as musicians used to do with 
those that dance too long galliards. If you 
dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that 
you are thought to know, you shall be thought 
at another time, to know that you know not. 
Speech of a man's self ought to be seldom, and 
well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in 
scorn, "He must needs be a wise man, he 
speaks so much of himself," and there is but 
one case wherein a man may commend him- 
self with good grace and that is in commend- 
ing virtue in another, especially if it be such 
a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. 
Speech of touch toward others should be spar- 
ingly used; for discourse ought to be as a field, 
without coming home to any man. I knew 
two noblemen of the west part of England, 
whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept 
ever royal cheer in his house ; the one would 
ask of those who had been at the other's table, 
4 'Tell truly, was there never a flout or dry 


blow given? To which the guest would 
answer, "Such and such a thing passed." 
The lord would say, 4t I thought he would mar 
a good dinner. M Discretion of speech is more 
than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to 
him with whom we deal, is more than to speak 
in good words, or in good order. A good 
continued speech without a good speech of 
interlocution, shows slowness, and a good 
reply, or second speech, without a good settled 
speech, showeth shallowness and weakness. 
As we see in beasts that those that are weakest 
in the course, are yet nimblest in the turn as 
it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To 
use too many circumstances, ere one come to 
the matter, is wearisome; to use none at all 
is blunt. 


Plantations are amongst ancient, primitive, 
and heroical works. When the world was 
young, it begat more children ; but now it is 
old, it begets fewer, for I may justly account 
new plantations to be the children of former 
kingdoms. I like a plantation in a pure soil; 
that is, where people are not displanted, to the 
end to plant in others; for else it is rather an 
extirpation than a plantation. Planting of 
countries is like planting of woods; for you 
must make account to lose almost twenty years 
profit, and expect your recompense in the end : 
for the principal thing that hath been the 
destruction of most plantations, has been the 


base and hasty drawing of profit in the first 
years. It is true, speedy profit is not to be 
neglected, as far as may stand with the good 
of the plantation, but no farther. It is a 
shameful and unblessed thing to take the scum 
of people and wicked condemned men, to be 
the people with whom you plant; and not only 
so, but it spoileth the plantation; for they will 
ever live like rogues, and not fall to work, but 
be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals, 
and be quickly weary, and then certify over to 
their country to the discredit of the plantation. 
The people wherewith you plant ought to be 
gardeners, ploughmen, laborers, smiths, car- 
peters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some 
few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers. 
In a country of plantation first look about what 
kind of victual the country yields of itself to 
hand: as chestnuts, walnuts, pine-apples, 
olives, dates, plums, cherries, wild honey, and 
the like; and make use of them. Then con- 
sider what victual, or esculent things there 
are, which grow speedily, and within the year; 
as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, 
artichokes of Jerusalem, maize, and the like: 
for wheat, barley, and oats, they ask too much 
labor; but with peas and beans you may 
begin, both because they ask less labor, and 
because they serve for meat as well as for 
bread; and of rice likewise cometh a great 
increase, and it is a kind of meat. Above all, 
there ought to be brought store of biscuit, 
oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like, in the begin- 
ning, till bread may be had. For beasts, or 


birds, take chiefly such as are least subject to 
diseases and multiply fastest ; as swine, goats, 
cocks, hens, turkeys, geese, house-doves, and 
the like. The victual in plantation ought to be 
expended almost as in a besieged .town ; that is 
with certain allowance: and let the main part 
of the ground employed to gardens or corn, be 
to a common stock; and to be laid in and 
stored up, and then delivered out in propor- 
tion; besides some spots of ground that any 
particular person will manure for his own 
private use. Consider, likewise, what com- 
modities the soil where the plantation is doth 
naturally yield, that they may some way help 
to defray the charge of the plantation ; so it 
be not, as was said, to the untimely prejudice 
of the main business, as it hath fared with 
tobacco in Virginia. Wood commonly abound- 
eth but too much; and therefore timber is fit 
to be one. If there be iron ore, and streams 
whereupon to set the mills, iron is a brave 
commodity where wood aboundeth. Making 
of bay-salt, if the climate be proper for it, 
would be put in experience: growing silk, 
likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity: 
pitch and tar, where store of firs and pines are 
will not fail ; so drugs and sweet woods, where 
they are, cannot but yield great profit: soap- 
ashes, likewise, and other things that may be 
thought of; but moil not too much under 
ground, for the hope of mines is very uncer- 
tain, and useth to make the planters lazy in 
other things. For government, let it be in the 
hands of one, assisted with some counsel ; and 


let them have commission to exercise martial 
laws, with some limitation; and above all, let 
men make that profit of being in the wilder- 
ness, as they have God always and his service 
before their eyes: let not the government of 
the plantation depend upon too many counsel- 
ors and undertakers in the country that plant- 
eth, but upon a temperate number: and let 
those be rather noblemen and gentlemen, than 
merchants; for they look ever to the present 
gain. Let there be freedoms from custom, till 
the plantation be of strength: and not only 
freedom from custom, but freedom to carry 
their commodities where they make their best 
of them except there be some special cause of 
caution. Cram not in people, by sending too 
fast company after company; but rather 
hearken how they waste, and send supplies 
proportionably ; but so as the number may live 
well in the plantation, and not by surcharge 
be in penury. It hath been a great endanger- 
ing to the health of some plantations, that 
they have built along the sea and rivers, in 
marish and unwholesome grounds: therefore 
though you begin there, to avoid carriage and 
other like discommodities, yet built still rather 
upward from the streams, than along. It 
concerneth likewise the health of the planta- 
tion, that they have good store of salt with 
them, that they may use it in their victuals 
when it shall be necessary. If you plant where 
savages are, do not only entertain them with 
trifles and gingles, but use them justly and 
graciously, with sufficient guard nevertheless; 


and do not win their favor by helping them to 
invade their enemies, but for their defense it 
is not amiss; and send oft of them over to the 
country that plants, that they may see a better 
condition than their own, and commend it 
when they return. When the plantation grows 
to strength, then it is time to plant with 
women as well as with men ; that the planta- 
tion may spread into generations, and not be 
every pieced from without. It is the sinful- 
est thing in the world to forsake or destitute a 
plantation once in forwardness; for, besides 
the dishonor, it is the guiltiness of blood of 
many commiserable persons. 


I cannot call riches better than the baggage 
of virtue: the Roman word is better, "impedi- 
menta ;" for as the baggage is to an army, so 
is riches to virtue ; it cannot be spared nor left 
behind, but it hindereth the march ; yea, and 
the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth 
the victory: of great riches there is no real 
use, except it be in the distribution; the rest 
is but conceit; so saith Solomon, "Where 
much is, there are many to consume it; and 
what hath the owner but the sight of it with 
his eyes?" The personal fruition in any man 
cannot reach to feel great riches: there is a 
custody of them ; or a power of dole and dona- 
tive of them ; or a fame of them ; but no solid 
use to the owner. Do you not see what feigned 
prices are set upon little stones and rarities? 


and what works of ostentation are undertaken, 
because there might seem to be some use of 
great riches? But then you will say, they 
may be of use to buy men out of dangers or 
troubles; as Solomon saith, " Riches are as a 
stronghold in the imagination of the rich man ;" 
but this is excellently expressed, that it is in 
imagination, and not always in fact: for, cer- 
tainly, great riches have sold more men than 
they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, 
but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, 
distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly; 
yet have no abstract nor friarly contempt of 
them; but distinguished, as Cicero saith well 
of Rabirius Posthumus, "In studio rei ampli- 
ficandae apparebat, non avaritiae praedam, sed 
instrumentum bonitati quaeri. ' ' Hearken 
also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gathering 
of riches: "Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit 
insons. " The poets feign, that when Plutus 
(which is riches) is sent from Jupiter, he limps, 
and goes slowly ; but when he is sent from 
Pluto, he runs, and is swift of foot ; meaning, 
that riches gotten by good means and just 
labor pace slowly; but when they come by the 
death of others (as by the course of inheritance, 
testaments, and the like), they come tumbling 
upon a man : but it might be applied likewise 
to Pluto, taking him for the devil: for when 
riches come from the devil (as by fraud and 
oppression, and unjust means), they come upon 
speed. The ways to enrich are many, and most 
of them foul : parsimony is one of the best, and 
yet is not innocent; for it withholdeth men 


from works of liberality and charity. The 
improvement of the ground is the most natural 
obtaining of riches; for it is our great mother's 
blessing, the earth's; but it is slow; and yet, 
where men of great wealth do stoop to hus- 
bandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I 
knew a nobleman in England that had the 
greatest audits of any man in my time, a great 
grazer, a great sheep-master, a great timber- 
man, a great collier, a great corn-master, a 
great lead-man, and so of iron, and a number 
of the like points of husbandry; so as the earth 
seemed a sea to him in respect of the perpetual 
importation. It was truly observed by one, 
44 That himself came very hardly to a little 
riches, and very easily to great riches; for 
when a man's stock is come to that, that he 
can expect the prime of markets, and overcome 
those bargains, which for their greatness are 
few men's money, and be partner in the indus- 
tries of younger men, he cannot but increase 
mainly." The gains of ordinary trades and 
vocations are honest, and furthered by two 
things chiefly: by diligence, and by a good 
name for good and fair dealing; but the gains 
of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, 
when men shall wait upon others' necessity: 
broke by servants and instruments to draw 
them on put off others cunningly that would 
be better chapmen, and the like practices, 
which are crafty and naught; as for the chop- 
ping of bargains, when a man buys not to hold, 
but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth 
double, both upon the seller and upon the 

10 Bacon 


buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the 
hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury 
is the certainest means of gain, though one of 
the worst; as that whereby a man doth eat his 
bread, "in sudore vultus alieni;" and besides, 
doth plough upon Sundays: but yet certain 
though it be, it hath flaws; for that the scriv- 
eners and brokers do value unsound men to 
serve their own turn. The fortune, in being 
the first in an invention, or in a privilege, doth 
cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in 
riches, as it was with the first sugarman in the 
Canaries: therefore if a man can play the true 
logician, to have as well judgment as inven- 
tion, he may do great matters, especially if the 
times be fit : he that resteth upon gains cer- 
tain, shall hardly grow to great riches; and he 
that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes 
break and come to poverty : it is good, there- 
fore, to guard adventures with certainties that 
may uphold losses. Monopolies, and co-emp- 
tion of wares for resale, where they are not 
restrained, are great means to enrich; espe- 
cially if the party have intelligence what things 
are like to come into request, and so, store 
himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service 
though it be of the best rise, yet when they 
are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and 
other servile conditions, they may be placed 
amongst the worst. As for fishing for testa- 
ments and executorships (as Tacitus saith of 
Seneca, "testamentaet orbostanquam indagine 
capi"), it is yet worse, by how much men sub- 
mit themselves to meaner persons than in serv- 


ice. Believe not much them that seem to de- 
spise riches, for they despise them that despair 
of them ; and none worse when they come to 
them. Be not penny wise ; riches have wings, 
and sometimes they fly away of themselves, 
sometimes they must be set flying to bring in 
more. Men leave their riches either to their 
kindred or to the public ; and moderate portions 
prosper best in both. A great state left to an 
heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round 
about to seize on him, if he be not the better 
established in years and judgment: likewise, 
glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices 
without salt; and but the painted sepulchres 
of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt 
inwardly : therefore measure not thine advance- 
ments by quantity, but frame them by meas- 
ure: and defer not charities till death; for, 
certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that 
doth so is rather liberal of another man's than 
of his own. 


I mean not to speak of divine prophecies, 
nor of heathen oracles, nor of natural predic- 
tions; but only of prophecies that have been 
of certain memory, and from hidden causes. 
Saith the Pythonissa to Saul, "To-morrow thou 
and thy sons shall be with me." Virgil hath 
these verses from Homer: 

"Hie domus iEneae cunctis dominabitur oris, 
Et nati natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis." 

A prophecy, as it seems, of the Roman empire. 

Seneca the tragedian hath these verses 
'! Venient annis 

Saecula seris, quibus Oceanus 
Vincula rerum laxet. et ingens 
Pateat Tellus, Tiphysque novos 
Detegat orbes ; nee sit terris 
Ultima Thule:" 

a prophecy of the discovery of America. The 
daughter of Polycrates dreamed that Jupiter 
bathed her father, and Apollo anointed him ; 
and it came to pass that he was crucified in an 
open place, where the sun made his body run 
with sweat; and the rain washed it. Philip of 
Macedon dreamed he sealed up his wife's belly ; 
whereby he did expound it, that his wife 
should be barren; but Aristander the sooth- 
sayer told him his wife was with child, because 
men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. 
A phantasum that appeared to M. Brutus in 
his tent, said to him, "Philippis iterum me 
videbis. " Tiberius said to Galba, "Tuquoque, 
Galba, degustabis imperium. " In Vespasian's 
time there went a prophecy in the East that 
those that should come forth of Judea, should 
reign over the world : which though it may be 
was meant of our Savior, yet Tacitus ex- 
pounds it of Vespasian. Domitian dreamed, 
the night before he was slain, that a golden 
head was growing out of the nape of his neck ; 
and indeed the succession that followed him, 
for many years made golden times. Henry 
the Sixth of England said of Henry the Sev- 
enth, when he was a lad, and gave him water, 


1 ' This is the lad that shall enjoy the crown for 
which we strive." When I was in France, I 
heard from one Dr. Pena, that the queen 
mother, who was given to curious arts, caused 
the king her husband's nativity to be calculated 
under a false name ; and the astrologer gave a 
judgment, that he should be killed in a duel; 
at which the queen laughed, thinking her hus- 
band to be above challenges and duels ; but he 
was slain upon a course at tilt, the splinters of 
the staff of Montgomery going in at his beaver. 
The trivial prophecy which I heard when I was 
a child, and Queen Elizabeth was in the flower 
of her years, was, 

"When hempe is spunne 
England's done:" 

whereby it was generally conceived, that after 
the princes had reigned which had the princi- 
pal letters of the word hempe (which were 
Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and Elizabeth), 
England should come to utter confusion ; which 
thanks be to God, is verified only in the change 
of the name; for that the king's style is now 
no more of England, but of Britain. There 
was also another prophecy before the year of 
eighty-eight, which I do not w r ell understand. 

"There shall be seen upon a day, 
Between the Baugh and the May, 
The black fleet of Norway. 
When that that is come and gone, 
England built houses of lime and stone, 
For after wars shall you have none. ' ' 

It was generally conceived to be meant of the 


Spanish fleet that came in eighty-eight: for 
that the king of Spain's surname, as they say, 
is Norway. The prediction of Regiomontanus, 

"Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus. " 

was thought likewise accomplished in the 
sending of that great fleet, being the greatest 
in strength, though not in number, of all that 
ever swam upon the sea. As for Cleon's 
dream, I think it was a jest; it was, that he 
was devoured of a long dragon : and it was 
expounded of a maker of sausages, that troubled 
him exceedingly. There are numbers of the 
like kind; especially if you include dreams, 
and predictions of astrology: but I have set 
down these few only of certain credit, for 
example. My judgment is that they ought all 
to be despised, and ought to serve but for win- 
ter talk by the fireside: though when I say 
despised, I mean it as for belief; for other- 
wise, the spreading- or publishing of them is in 
no sort to be despised, for they have done 
much mischief; and I see many severe laws 
made to suppress them. That that hath given 
them grace, and some credit consisteth in 
three things. First, that men mark when they 
hit, and never mark when they miss: as they 
do, generally, also of dreams. The second is, 
that probable conjectures, or obscure traditions, 
many times turn themselves into prophecies; 
w r hile the nature of man, which coveteth divin- 
ation, thinks it no peril to foretell that which 
indeed they do but collect; as that of Sen- 
eca's verse; for so much was then subject to 


demonstration, that the globe of the earth had 
great parts beyond the Atlantic, which might 
be probably conceived not to be all sea: and 
added thereto the tradition in Plato's Timse- 
mus, and his Atlanticus, it might encourage 
one to turn it to a prediction. The third and 
last (which is the great one) is that almost all 
of them, being infinite in number, have been 
impostures, and by idle and crafty brains, 
merely contrived and feigned, after the event 


Ambition is like choler, which is a humor 
that maketh men active, earnest, full of alac- 
rity, and stirring, if it be not stopped : but if it 
be stopped, and can not have its way, it 
becometh a dust, and thereby malign and 
venomous: so ambitious men, if they find the 
way open for their rising, and still get forward, 
they are rather busy than dangerous; but if 
they be checked in their desires, they become 
secretly discontent, and look upon men and 
matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased 
when things go backward ; which is the worst 
property in a servant of a prince or state: 
therefore, it is good for princes, if they use 
ambitious men, to handle it so, as they be still 
progressive, and not retrograde; which, 
because it cannot be without inconvenience, it 
is good not to use such natures at all; for if 
they rise not with their service, they will take 
order to make their service fall with them. 
But since we have said, it were good not to use 


men of ambitious natures, except it be upon 
necessity, it is fit we speak in what cases they 
are of necessity. Good commanders in the 
wars must be taken, be they never so am- 
bitious; for the use of their service dispenseth 
with the rest: and to take a soldier without 
ambition, is to pull off his spurs. There is 
also great use of ambitious men in being 
screens to princes in matters of danger and 
envy ; for no man will take that part except he 
be like a seeled dove, that mounts and mounts, 
because he cannot see about him. There is 
use also of ambitious men in pulling down the 
greatness of any subject that overtops; as 
Tiberius used Macro in the pulling down of 
Sejanus. Since, therefore, they must be used 
in such cases, there resteth to speak how they 
are to be bridled, that they may be less dan- 
gerous. There is less danger of them if they 
be of mean birth, than if they be noble; and if 
they be rather harsh of nature, than gracious 
and popular; and if they be rather new raised, 
than grown cunning and fortified in their 
greatness. It is counted by some a weakness 
in princes to have favorites; but it is, of all 
others, the best remedy against ambitious 
great ones; for when the way of pleasuring 
and displeasuring lieth by the favorite, it is 
impossible any other should be over great. 
Another means to curb them, is to balance 
them by others as proud as they: but then 
there must be some middle counselors, to keep 
things steady ; for without that ballast the ship 
will roll too much. At the least, a prince may 


animate and inure some meaner persons to be, 
as it were, scourges to ambitious men. As for 
the having of them obnoxious to ruin, if they 
be of fearful natures, it may do well; but if 
they be stout and daring, it may precipitate 
their designs, and prove dangerous. As for 
the pulling of them down, if the affairs require 
it, and that it may not be done with safety 
suddenly, the only way is, the interchange 
continually of favors and disgraces, whereby 
they may not know what to expect, and be as 
it were, in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less 
harmful the ambition to prevail in great things, 
than that other to appear in everything; for 
that breeds confusion, and mars business: but 
yet, it is less danger to have an ambitious man 
stirring in business than great in dependencies. 
He that seeketh to be eminent among stable 
men, hath a great task ; but that is ever good 
for the public ; but he that plots to be the only 
figure among ciphers, is the decay of a whole 
age. Honor hath three things in it; the van- 
tage ground to do good ; the approach to kings 
and principal persons; and the raising of a 
man's own fortunes. He that hath the best of 
these intentions, when he aspireth, is an honest 
man; and that prince that can discern of these 
intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise 
prince. Generally, let princes and states 
choose such ministers as are more sensible of 
duty than of rising, and such as love business 
rather upon conscience than upon bravery; 
and let them discern a busy nature from a 
willing mind. 

10 Bacon 



These things are but toys to come amongst 
such serious observations; but yet, since 
princes will have such things, it is better they 
should be graced with elegancy, than daubed 
with cost. Dancing to song, is a thing of great 
state and pleasure. I understand it that the 
song be in quire, placed aloof, and accompanied 
with some broken music; and the ditty fitted 
to the device. Acting in song, especially in 
dialogues, hath an extreme good grace ; I say 
acting, not dancing (for that is a mean and 
vulgar thing) ; and the voices of the dialogue 
would be strong and manly (a base and a tenor; 
no treble), and the ditty high and tragical, not 
nice or dainty. Several quires placed one 
over against another, and taking the voice by 
catches anthem-wise, give great pleasure. 
Turning dances into figure is a childish curios- 
ity; and, generally, let it be noted, that those 
things which I here set down are such as do 
naturally take the sense, and not respect petty 
wonderments.' It is true, the alterations of 
scenes, so it be quietly and without noise, are 
things of great beauty and pleasure ; for they 
feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the 
same object. Let the scenes abound with 
light, especially colored and varied; and let 
the masques, or any other that are to come 
down from the scene, have some motions upon 
the scenes itself before their coming down ; for 
it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with 


great pleasure to desire to see that, it cannot 
perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and 
cheerful, and not chirpings or pullings: let 
the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well 
placed. The colors that show best by candle- 
light, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea- 
water green, and ouches, or spangs, as they 
are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. 
As for rich embroidery, it is lost, and not dis- 
cerned. Let the suits of the masquers be 
graceful, and such as become the person when 
the vizors are off; not after examples of known 
attires; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. 
Let anti-masques not be long; they have been 
commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, 
antics, beasts, sprites, witches, Ethiopes, pig- 
mies, turquets, nymphs, rustics, Cupids, 
statues, moving, and the like. As for angels, 
it is not comical enough to put them in anti- 
masques: and anything that is hideous, as 
devils, giants, is, on the other side, as unfit: 
but chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, 
and with some strange changes. Some sweet 
odors suddenly coming forth, without any 
drops falling, are, in such a company as there 
is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and 
refreshment. Double masques, one of men 
another of ladies, addeth state and variety: 
but all is nothing, except the room be kept 
clear and neat. 

For justs, and tourneys, and barriers, the 
glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, 
wherein the challengers make their entry; 
especially if they be drawn with strange 


beasts: as lions, bears, camels, and the like; 
or in the devices of their entrance, or in the 
bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly- 
furniture of their horses and armor. But 
enough of these toys. 


Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, 
seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature 
more violent in the return ; doctrine and dis- 
course maketh nature less importune ; but cus- 
tom only doth alter and subdue nature. He 
that seeketh victory over his nature, let him 
not set himself too great nor too small tasks: 
for the first will make him dejected by often 
failings, and the second will make him a small 
proceeder, though by often prevailings; and 
at the first, let him practice with helps, as 
swimmers do with bladders, or rushes, but, 
after a time, let him practice with disadvan- 
tage, as dancers do with thick shoes; for it 
breeds great perfection, if the practice be 
harder than the use. Where nature is mighty, 
and, therefore, the victory hard, the degrees 
had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in 
time ; like to him that would say over the four 
and twenty letters when he was angry; then to 
go less in quantity : as if one should, in for- 
bearing wine, come from drinking healths to a 
draught at a meal ; and, lastly, to discontinue 
altogether: but if a man have the fortitude 
and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, 
that is the best : 


"Optimus ille attimi vindex lsedentia pectus 
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel." 

Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend 
nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, 
whereby to set it right; understanding it 
where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let 
not a man force a habit upon himself with a 
perpetual continuance, but with some inter- 
mission: for both the pause reinforceth the 
new onset; and if a man that is not perfect, be 
ever in practice, he shall as well practice his 
errors as his abilities, and induce one habit of 
both; and there is no means to help this but 
by seasonable intermission; but let not a man 
trust his victory over his nature too far; for 
nature will lie buried a great time, and yet 
revive upon the occasion, or temptation ; like 
as it was with ^Esop's damsel, turned from a 
cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the 
board's end till a mouse ran before her: there- 
fore, let a man either avoid the occasion alto- 
gether, or put himself often to it, that he may 
be little moved with it. A man's nature is 
best perceived in privateness, for there is no 
affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man 
out of his precepts; and in a new case or ex- 
periment, for there custom leaveth him. They 
are happy men whose natures sort with their 
vocations; otherwise they may say, "Multum 
incola fuit anima mea, " when they converse 
in those things they do not affect. In studies, 
whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, 
let him set hours for it ; but whatsoever is 
agreeable to his nature, let him take no care 


for any set times; for his thoughts will fly to 
it of themselves, so as the spaces of other busi- 
ness or studies will suffice. A man's nature 
runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore, let 
him seasonably water the one, and destroy the 


Men's thoughts are much according to their 
inclination: their discourse and speeches ac- 
cording to their learning and infused opinions; 
but their deeds are after as they have been 
accustomed : and, therefore, as Machiavel well 
noteth (though in an evil-favored instance), 
there is no trusting to the force of nature, nor 
to the bravery of words, except it be corrobor- 
ate by custom. His instance is, that for the 
achieving of a desperate conspiracy, a man 
should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's 
nature, or his resolute undertakings; but take 
such a one as hath had his hands formerly in 
blood; but Machiavel knew not of a Friar 
Clement, nor a Ravillac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a 
Baltazar Gerard ; yet his rule holdeth still, that 
nature, nor the engagement of words, are not 
so forcible as custom. Only superstition is 
now so well advanced, that men of the first 
blood are as firm as butchers by occupation ; 
and votary resolution is made equipollent to 
custom even in matter of blood. In other 
things, the predominancy of custom is every- 
where visible, insomuch as a man would won- 


der to hear men profess, protest, engage, give 
great words, and then do just as they have 
done before, as if they were dead images and 
engines, moved only by the wheels of custom. 
We see also the reign of tyranny of custom, 
what it is. The Indians (I mean the sect of 
their wise men) lay themselves quietly upon a 
stack of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by 
fire : nay, the wives strive to be burned with 
the corpses of their husbands. The lads of 
Sparta, of ancient time, were wont to be 
scourged upon the altar of Diana, without so 
much as quecking. I remember, in the begin- 
ning of Queen Elizabeth's time of England, an 
Irish rebel condemned, put up a petition to the 
deputy that he might be hanged in a withe, 
and not in a halter, because it had been so 
used with former rebels. There be monks in 
Russia for penance, that will sit a whole night 
in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with 
hard ice. Many examples may be put of the 
force of custom, both upon mind and body: 
therefore, since custom is the principal magis- 
trate of man's life, let men by all means en- 
deavor to obtain good customs. Certainly, 
custom is most perfect when it beginneth in 
young years: this we call education, which is, 
in effect, but an early custom. So we see, in 
languages the tongue is more pliant to all 
expressions and sounds, the joints are more 
supple to all feats of activity and motions in 
youth, than afterward; for it is true, that late 
learners cannot so well take the ply, except it 
be in some minds that have not suffered them- 


selves to fix, but have kept themselves open 
and prepared to receive continual amendment, 
which is exceeding rare: but if the force of 
custom, simple and separate, be great, the 
force of custom, copulate and conjoined and 
collegiate, is far greater; for their example 
teacheth, company comforteth, emulation 
quickeneth, glory raiseth ; so as in such places 
the force of custom is in his exultation. Cer- 
tainly, the great multiplication of virtues upon 
human nature resteth upon societies well or- 
dained and disciplined; for commonwealths 
and good governments do nourish virtue grown, 
but do not much mend the seeds: but the mis- 
ery is, that the most effectual means are now 
applied to the ends least to be desired. 


It cannot be denied, but outward accidents 
conduce much to fortune ; favor, opportunity, 
death of others, occasion fitting virtue: but 
chiefly, the mould of a man's fortune is in his 
own hands: "Faber quisque fortunse suae," 
saith the poet ; and the most frequent of exter- 
nal causes is, that the folly of one man is the 
fortune of another ; for no man prospers so 
suddenly as by others' errors. 

"Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit 
draco. ' ' Overt and apparent virtues bring forth 
praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues 
that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of 
a man's self, which have no name. The Span- 
ish name, "disemboltura," partly expresseth 


them, when there be not stonds nor restiveness 
in a man's nature, but that the wheels of his 
mind keep way with the wheels of his fortune ; 
for so Livy (after he had described Cato Major 
in these words, "In illo viro, tantum robur 
corporis et animi fuit, ut quocungue loco natus 
esset, fortunam sibi facturus viderotur"), fall- 
eth upon that that he had "versatile ingen- 
ium:" therefore, if a man look sharply and 
attentively, he shall see fortune; for though 
she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The 
way of Fortune is like the milky way in the 
sky ; which is a meeting, or knot, of a number 
of small stars, not seen asunder, but giving 
light together: so are there a number of little 
and scarce discerned virtues, or rather facul- 
ties and customs, that make men fortunate. 
The Italians note some of them, such as a man 
would little think. When they speak of one 
that cannot do amiss, they will throw in into 
his other conditions, that he hath "Poco di 
matto;" and certainly, there be not two more 
fortunate properties, than to have a little of the 
fool, and not too much of the honest ; there- 
fore, extreme lovers of their country, or mas- 
ters, were never fortunate ; neither can they 
be ; for when a man placeth his thoughts with- 
out himself, he goeth not his own way. A 
hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and 
remover (the French hath it better, "entrepre- 
nant," or "remuant") ; but the exercised 
fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to 
be honored and respected, and it be but for her 
daughters, Confidence and Reputation; for 


those two Felicity breedeth ; the first within a 
man's self, the latter in others toward him. 
All wise men, to decline the envy of their own 
virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and 
Fortune; for so they may the better assume 
them : and, besides, it is greatness in a man to 
be the care of the higlier powers. So Caesar 
said to the pilot in the tempest, "Csesarem 
portas et fortunam ejus." So Sylla chose the 
name of " Felix," and not of " Magnus:" and 
it hath been noted, that those who ascribe 
openly too much to their own wisdom and pol- 
icy, end unfortunate. It is written, that Timo- 
theus, the Athenian, after he had, in the 
account he gave to the state of his government, 
often interlaced this speech, "and in this 
Fortune had no part," never prospered in 
anything he undertook afterward. Certainly 
there be, whose fortunes are like Homer's 
verses, that have a slide and easiness more 
than the verses of other poets; as Plutarch 
saith of Timol eon's fortune in respect of that of 
Agesilaus or Epaminondas: and that this 
should be, no, doubt it is much in a man's 


Many have made witty invectives against 
usury. They say that it is a pity the devil 
should have God's part, which is the tithe; 
that the usurer is the greatest Sabbath- 
breaker, because his plough goeth every Sun- 
day, that the usurer is the drone that Virgil 
speaketh of: 


"Ignavum fucos pectis a praesepibus arcent;" 

that the usurer breaketh the first law that 
was made for mankind after the fall, which 
was "in sudore vultus tui comedes panem 
tuum;" not, "in sudore vultus alieni; ,, that 
usurers should have orange-taw r ny bonnets, 
because they do Judaize; that it is against 
nature for money to beget money, and the 
like. I say this only, that usury is a "con- 
cessum propter duritiem cordis :" for since 
there must be borrowing and lending, and 
men are so hard of heart as they will not lend 
freely, usury must be permitted. Some others 
have made suspicious and cunning proposi- 
tions of banks, discovery of men's estates, and 
other inventions; but few have spoken of 
usury usefully. It is good to set before us the 
incommodities and commodities of usury, that 
the good may be either weighed out, or culled 
out; and warily to provide, that, while we 
make forth to that which is better, we meet 
not with that which is worse. 

The discommodities of usury are, first, that 
it makes fewer merchants; for were it not for 
this lazy trade of usury, money would not lie 
still, but would in great part be employed 
upon merchandising, which is the "vena 
porta' ' of wealth in a state: the second, that it 
makes poor merchants; for as farmer cannot 
husband his ground so well if he sit at a great 
rent, so the merchant cannot drive his trade 
so well, if he sit at great usury: the third is 
incident to the other two; and that is, the 


decay of customs of kings, or states, which 
ebb or flow with merchandising: the fourth, 
that it bringeth the treasure of the realm or 
state into a few hands; for the usurer being 
at certainties, and others at uncertainties, at 
the end of the game most of the money will 
be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth 
when wealth is more equally spread: the fifth, 
that it beats down the price of land ; for the 
employment of money is chiefly either mer- 
chandising, or purchasing, and usury waylays 
both: the sixth, that it doth dull and damp all 
industries, improvements, and new inventions, 
wherein money would be stirring, if it were 
not for this slug: the last, that it is the canker 
and ruin of many men's estates, which in pro- 
cess of time breeds a public poverty. 

On the other side, the commodities of usury 
are, first, that howsoever usury in some 
respect hindereth merchandising, yet in some 
other it advanceth it; for it is certain that the 
greatest part of trade is driven by young 
merchants upon borrowing at interest; so as if 
the usurer either call in, or keep back his 
money, there will ensue presently a great 
stand of trade: the second is, that were it not 
for this easy borrowing upon interest, men's 
necessities would draw upon them a most sud- 
den undoing, in that they would be forced to 
sell their means (be it lands or goods), far un- 
der foot, and so, whereas usury doth but gnaw 
upon them, bad markets would swallow them 
quite up. As for mortgaging or pawning, it 
will little mend the matter: for either men 


will not take pawns without use, or if they do, 
they will look precisely for the forfeiture. I 
remember a cruel moneyed man in the coun- 
try, that would say, "The devil take this usury, 
it keeps us from forfeitures of mortgages and 
bonds. " The third and last is, that it is a 
vanity to conceive that there would be ordinary 
borrowing without profit; and it is impossible 
to conceive the number of inconveniences that 
will ensue, if borrowing be cramped: there- 
fore to speak of the abolishing of usury is idle; 
all states have ever had it in one kind or rate, 
or other; so as that opinion must be sent to 

To speak now of the reformation and regle- 
ment of usury, how the discommodities of it 
may be best avoided, and the commodities re- 
tained. It appears, by the balance of com- 
modities and discommodities of usury, two 
things are to be reconciled; the one that the 
tooth of usury be grinded, that it bite not too 
much; the other, that there be left open a 
means to invite moneyed men to lend to the 
merchants, for the continuing and quickening 
of trade. This cannot be done, except you 
introduce two several sorts of usury, a less 
and a greater ; for if you reduce usury to one 
low rate, it will ease the common borrower, 
but the merchant will be to seek for money; 
and it is to be noted, that the trade of mer- 
chandise being the most lucrative, may bear 
usury at a good rate: other contracts not so. 

To serve both intentions, the way would be 
briefly thus: that there be two rates of usury; 


the one free and general for all ; the other 
under license only to certain persons, and in 
certain places of merchandising. First, there- 
fore, let usury in general be reduced to five in 
the hundred, and let that rate be proclaimed 
to be free and current; and let the state shut 
itself out to take any penalty for the same ; 
this will preserve borrowing from any general 
stop or dryness; this will ease infinite bor- 
rowers in the country; this will, in good part, 
raise the price of land, because land pur- 
chased at sixteen years' purchase will yield six 
in the hundred, and somewhat more, whereas 
this rate of interest yields but five: this by like 
reason will encourage and edge industries and 
profitable improvements, because many will 
rather venture in that kind, than take five in 
the hundred, especially having been used to 
greater profit. Secondly, let there be certain 
persons licensed to lend to known merchants 
upon usury, at a higher rate, and let it be 
with the cautions following: let the rate be, 
even with the merchant himself, somewhat 
more easy than that he used formerly to pay; 
for by that means all borrowers shall have 
some ease by this reformation, be he merchant, 
or whatsoever; let it be no bank or common 
stock, but every man be master of his own 
money; not that I altogether mislike banks, 
but they will hardly be brooked, in regard of 
certain suspicions. Let the state be answered 
some small matter for the license, and the rest 
left to the lender; for if the abatement be but 
small, it will no whit discourage the lender; 


for he, for example, that took before ten or 
nine in the hundred, will sooner descend to 
eight in the hundred, than give over his trade 
of usury; and go from certain gains to gains 
of hazard. Let these licensed lenders be in 
number indefinite, but restrained to certain 
principal cities and towns of merchandising; 
for then they will be hardly able to color other 
men's moneys in the country; so as the license 
of nine will not suck away the current rate of 
five; for no. man will send his moneys far off, 
nor put them into unknown hands. 

If it be objected that this doth in a sort 
authorize usury, which before was in some 
places but permissive ; the answer is, that it is 
better to mitigate usury by declaration, than 
to suffer it to rage by connivance. 


A man that is young in years may be old in 
hours, if he have lost no time ; but that hap- 
peneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the 
first cogitations, not so wise as the second; for 
there is a youth in thoughts, as well as in 
ages; and yet the invention of young men is 
more lively than that of old, and imaginations 
stream into their minds better, and, as it were, 
more divinely. Natures that have much heat, 
and great and violent desires and perturba- 
tions, are not ripe for action till they have 
passed the meridian of their years : as it was 
with Julius Caesar and Septimius Severus; of 
the latter of whom it is said, "Juventutem 


egit erroribus, imo furoribus plenam;" and 
yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all 
the list; but reposed natures may do well in 
youth, as it is seen in Augustus Caesar, Cos- 
mos Duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, and 
others. On the other side, heat and vivacit}^ 
in age is an excellent composition for business. 
Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, 
fitter for execution than for counsel, and 
fitter for new projects than for settled busi- 
ness ; for the experience of age, in things that 
fall within the compass of it, directeth them ; 
but in new things abuseth them. The errors 
of young men are the ruin of business; but 
the errors of aged men amount but to this, 
that more might have been done, or sooner. 

Young men, in the conduct and manage of 
actions, embrace more than they can hold, stir 
more than they can quiet; fly to the end, with- 
out consideration of the means and degrees; 
pursue some few principles which they have 
chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, 
which draws unknown inconveniences; use 
extreme remedies at first; and that, which 
doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or 
retract them, like an unready horse, that will 
neither 'stop nor turn. Men of age object too 
much, consult too long, adventure too little, 
repent too soon, and seldom drive business 
home to the full period, but content them- 
selves with a mediocrity of success. Certainly 
it is good to compound employments of both; 
for that will be good for the present, because 
the virtues of either age may correct the 


defects of both ; and good for succession, that 
young men may be learners, while men in age 
are actors; and, lastly, good for extreme acci- 
dents, because authority followeth old men, 
and favor and popularity youth : but for the 
moral part, perhaps, youth will have the pre- 
eminence, as age hath for the politic. A cer- 
tain rabbin, upon the text, "Your young men 
shall see visions, and your old men shall 
dream dreams," inferreth that young men are 
admitted nearer to God than old, because 
vision is a clearer revelation than a dream; 
and certainly, the more a man drinketh of 
the world, the more it intoxicateth : and age 
doth profit rather in the powers of understand- 
ing, than in the virtues of the will and affec- 
tions. There be some have an over-early 
ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes: 
there are, first, such as have brittle wits, the 
edge whereof is soon turned: such as was 
Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are 
exceeding subtle, who afterward waxed stupid: 
a second sort is of those that have some natural 
disposition, which have better grace in youth 
than in age ; such as is a fluent and luxuriant 
speech, which becomes youth well, but not 
age: so Tully saith of Hortensius, "Idem 
manebat, neque idem decebat:" the third is of 
such as take too high a strain at the first, and 
are magnanimous more than tract of years can 
uphold; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom 
Livy saith, in effect, "Ultima primis cede- 

11 Bacon 



Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set; 
and surely virtue is best in a body that is 
comely, though not of delicate features; and 
that hath rather dignity of presence, than 
beauty of aspect; neither is it almost seen 
that very beautiful persons are otherwise of 
great virtue; as if nature were rather busy not 
to err, than in labor to produce excellency ; 
and therefore they prove accomplished, but 
not of great spirit; and study rather behavior, 
than virtue. But this holds not always ; for 
Augustus Caesar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le 
Bel of France, Edward the Fourth of England, 
Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Ephy of 
Persia, were all high and great spirits, and yet 
the most beautiful men of their times. In 
beauty, that of favor, is more than that of 
color ; and that of decent and gracious motion, 
more than that of favor. That is the best 
part of beauty, which a picture cannot express; 
no, nor the first sight of the life. There is 
no excellent beauty that hath not some 
strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot 
tell whether Apelles or Albert Durer were 
the more trifler; whereof the one would make 
a personage by geometrical proportions: the 
other, by taking the best parts out of divers 
faces to make one excellent. Such personages, 
I think, would please nobody but the painter 
that made them : not but I think a painter may 
make a better face than ever was; but he 
must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician 


that maketh an excellent air in music), and 
not by rule. A man shall see faces, that, if 
you examine them part by part, you shall find 
never a good ; and yet altogether do well. If 
it be true that the principal part of beauty is in 
decent motion, certainly it is no marvel, 
though persons in years seem many times 
more amiable; "Pulchrorum autumnus pul- 
cher ;" for no youth can be comely but by par- 
don, and considering the youth as to make up 
the comeliness. Beauty is as summer fruits, 
which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; 
and, for the most part, it makes a dissolute 
youth, and an age a little out of countenance; 
but yet certainly again, if it light well, it mak- 
eth virtues shine, and vices blush. 


Deformed persons are commonly even with 
nature ; for as nature has done ill by them so 
do they by nature, being for the most part (as 
the Scripture saith), "voidof natural affection;" 
and so they have their revenge of nature. 
Certainly there is a consent between the body 
and the mind, and where nature erreth in the 
one, she venture th in the other: "Ubi peccat 
in uno, periclitatur in altero:" but because 
there is in man an election, touching the frame 
of his mind, and necessity in the frame of his 
body, the stars of natural inclination are some- 
times obscured by the sun of discipline and 
virtue; therefore it is good to consider of 
deformity, not as a sign which is more deceiv- 


able, but as a cause which seldom faileth of 
the effect. Whosoever hath anything fixed 
in his person that doth not induce contempt, 
hath also a perpetual spur in himself to secure 
and deliver himself from scorn ; therefore, all 
deformed persons are extreme bold; first, as 
in their own defense, as being exposed to 
scorn, but in process of time by a general 
habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and 
especially of this kind, to watch and observe 
the weakness of others, that they may have 
somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors, 
it quencheth jealousy toward them, as persons 
that they think they may at pleasure despise: 
and it layeth their competitors and emulators 
asleep, as never believing they should be in 
possibility of advancement till they see them 
in possession; so that upon the matter, in a 
great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising. 
Kings in ancient times (and at this present in 
some countries) were wont to put great trust 
in eunuchs, because they that are envious 
toward all are more obnoxious and officious 
toward one ; but yet their trust toward them 
hath rather been as to good spials, and good 
whisperers, than good magistrates and offi- 
cers: and much like is the reason of deformed 
persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they 
be of spirit, seek to free themselves from 
scorn: which must be either by virtue or 
malice; and, therefore, let it not be marveled, 
if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as 
was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, 


yEsop, Gasca president of Peru; and Socrates 
may go likewise amongst them, with others. 


Houses are built to live in, and not to look 
on ; therefore let use be preferred before 
uniformity, except where both may be had. 
Leave the goodly fabrics of houses, for beauty 
only, to the enchanted palaces of the poets, 
who build them with small cost. He that 
builds a fair house upon an ill seat, committeth 
himself to prison: neither do I reckon it an 
ill seat only where the air is unwholesome, but 
likewise where the air is unequal ; as you shall 
see many fine seats set upon a knap of ground, 
environed with higher hills round about it, 
whereby the heat of the sun is pent in, and 
the wind gathereth as in troughs ; so as you 
shall have, and that suddenly, as great diver- 
sity of heat and cold as if you dwelt in several 
places. Neither is it ill air only that maketh 
an ill seat; but ill ways, ill markets, and, if 
you will consult with Momus, ill neighbors. I 
speak not of many more; want of water, want 
of wood, shade, and shelter, want of fruit- 
fulness, and mixture of grounds of several 
natures; want of prospect, want of level 
grounds, want of places at some near distance 
for sports of hunting, hawking, and races; 
too near the sea, too remote; having the 
commodity of navigable rivers, or the discom- 
modity of their overflowing ; too far off from 
the great cities, which may hinder business; 


or too near them, which lurcheth all provision 
and maketh everything dear; where a man 
hath a great living laid together; and where 
he is scanted; all which, as it is impossible 
perhaps to find together, so it is good to know 
them, and think of them, that a man may take 
as many as he can ; and if he have several 
dwellings, that he sort them so, that what he 
wanteth in the one he may find in the other. 
Lucullus answered Pompey well, who, when he 
saw his stately galleries and rooms so large and 
lightsome, in one of his houses, said: " Surely 
an excellent place for summer, but how do 
you in winter?" Lucullus answered, "Why, 
do you not think me as wise as some fowls are, 
that ever change their abode toward the 

To pass from the seat to the house itself, 
we will do as Cicero doth in the orator's art, 
who writes books De Oratore, and a book he 
entitles Orator ; whereof the former delivers the 
precepts of the art, and the latter the perfection. 
We will therefore describe a princely palace, 
making a brief model thereof; for it is strange 
to see, now in Europe, such huge buildings as 
the Vatican and Escurial, and some others 
be, and yet scarce a very fair room in them. 

First, therefore, I say, you cannot have a 
perfect palace, except you have two several 
sides; a side for the Banquet, as is spoken of 
in the book of Esther, and a side for the 
household; the one for feasts and triumphs, 
and the other for dwelling. I understand both 
these sides to be not only returns, but parts of 


the front ; and to be uniform without, though 
severally partitioned within ; and to be on both 
sides of a great and stately tower in the midst 
of the front, that as it were joineth them 
together on either hand. I would have, on 
the side of the banquet in front, one only 
goodly room above stairs, of some forty foot 
high ; and under it a room for a dressing or 
preparing place, at times of triumphs. On 
the other side, which is the household side, I 
wish it divided at the first into a hall and a 
chapel, with a partition between, both of good 
state and bigness; and those not to go all the 
length, but to have at the further end a winter 
and a summer parlor, both fair; and under 
these rooms a fair and large cellar sunk under 
ground: and likewise some privy kitchens, 
with butteries and pantries, and the like. As 
for the tower, I would have it two stories, of 
eighteen foot high apiece above the two wings; 
and a goodly leads upon the top, railed with 
statues interposed ; and the same tower to be 
divided into rooms, as shall be thought fit. 
The stairs likewise to the upper rooms, let 
them be upon a fair open newel, and finely 
railed in with images of wood cast into a brass 
color; and a very fair landing-place at the top. 
But this to be, if you do not point any of the 
lower rooms for a dining-place of servants; for 
otherwise, you shall have the servants* dinner 
after your own : for the steam of it will come 
up as in a tunnel. And so much for the front: 
only I understand the height of the first stairs 


to be sixteen foot, which is the height of the 
lower room. 

Beyond this front is there to be a fair court, 
but three sides of it of a far lower building 
than the front; and in all the four corners of 
that court fair staircases, cast into turrets on 
the outside, and not within the row of build- 
ings themselves : but those towers are not to 
be of the height of the front, but rather pro- 
portionable to the lower building. Let the 
court not be paved, for that striketh up a 
great heat in summer, and much cold in win- 
ter: but only some side 'alleys with a cross 
and the quarters to graze, being kept shorn, 
but not too near shorn. The row of return 
on the banquet side, let it be all stately gal- 
leries: in which galleries let there be three or 
five fine cupolas in the length of it, placed at 
equal distance, and fine colored windows of 
several works : on the household side, chambers 
of presence and ordinary entertainments, with 
some bed-chambers: and let all three sides 
be a double house, without thorough lights on 
the sides, that you may have rooms from the 
sun, both for forenoon and afternoon. Cast it 
also, that you may have rooms both for sum- 
mer and winter; shady for summer, and warm 
for winter. You shall have sometimes fair 
houses so full of glass, that one cannot tell 
where to become to be out of the sun or cold. 
For inbowed windows, I hold them of good 
use (in cities, indeed, upright do better, in 
respect of the uniformity toward the street) ; 
for they be pretty retiring places for confer- 


ence; and besides, they keep both the wind 
and sun off ; for that which would strike almost 
through the room doth scarce pass the win- 
dow: but let them be but few, four in the 
court, on the sides only. 

Beyond this court, let there be an inward 
court, of the same square and height, which 
is to be environed with the garden on all sides; 
and in the inside, cloistered on all sides upon 
decent and beautiful arches, as high as the first 
story: on the under story toward the garden, 
let it be turned to grotto, or place of shade, or 
estivation: and only have opening and win- 
dows toward the garden, and be level upon the 
floor, no whit sunk under ground, to avoid all 
dampishness: and let there be a fountain, or 
some fair work of statues in the midst of this 
court, and to be paved as the other court was. 
These buildings to be for privy lodgings on 
both sides, and the end for privy galleries ; 
whereof you must foresee that one of them be 
for an infirmary, if the prince or any special 
persons should be sick, with chambers, bed- 
chamber, "anticamera, " and "recamera, " join- 
ing to it ; thus upon the second story. Upon 
the ground story, a fair gallery, open, upon 
pillars; and upon the third story, likewise an 
open gallery upon pillars, to take the prospect 
and freshness of the garden. At both corners 
of the further side, by way of return, let there 
be two delicate or rich cabinets, daintily 
paved, richly hanged, glazed with crystalline 
glass, and a rich cupola in the midst; and all 
other elegancy that can be thought ur>on. In 

12 Bacon 


the tipper gallery, too, I wish that there may 
be, if the place will yield it, some fountains 
running in divers places from the wall, with 
some fine avoidances. And thus much for the 
model of the palace; save that you must have, 
before you come to the front, three courts; a 
green court plain, with a wall about it; a second 
court of the same, but more garnished with 
little turrets, or rather embellishments, upon 
the wall ; and a third court, to make a square 
with the front, but not to be built, nor yet 
enclosed with a naked wall, but enclosed with 
terraces leaded aloft, and fairly garnished on 
the three sides; and cloistered on the inside 
with pillars, and not with arches below. As 
for offices, let them stand at distance, with 
some low galleries to pass from them to the 
palace itself. 



God Almighty first planted a garden ; and, 
indeed it is the purest of human pleasures; it 
is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of 
man ; without which buildings and palaces are 
but gross handiworks; and a man shall ever 
see, that, when ages grow to civility and ele- 
gancy, men come to build stately, sooner 
than to garden finely; as if gardening were 
the greater perfection. I do hold it in the 
royal ordering of gardens, there ought to be 
gardens for all the months in the year, in 
which, severally, things of beauty may be then 
in season. For December, and January, and 


the latter part of November, you must take 
such things as are green all winter: holly, ivy, 
bays, juniper, cypress-tree, yew, pineapple- 
trees; fir-trees, rosemary, lavender; periwin- 
kle, the white, the purple, and the blue; ger- 
mander, flags, orange-trees, lemon-trees, and 
myrtles, if they be stoved; and sweet majoram, 
warm set. There followeth, for the latter 
part of January and February, the mezereon- 
tree which then blossoms: crocus vernus, both 
the yellow and the gray; primroses, anemo- 
nes, the early tulip, the hyacinthus orientalis, 
chamairis fritellaria. For March, there comes 
violets, especially the single blue, which are 
the earliest ; the yellow daffodil, the daisy, the 
almond-tree in blossom, the peach-tree in blos- 
som, the cornelian-tree in blossom, sweet-briar. 
In April follow the double white violet, the 
wall-flower, the stock-gilliflower, the cowslip, 
flower-de-luces, and lilies of all natures; rose- 
mary-flowers, the tulip, the double peony, the 
pale daffodil, the French honeysuckle, the 
cherry-tree in blossom, the damascene and 
plum-trees in blossom, the white thorn in 
leaf, the lilac-tree. In May and June come 
pinks of all sorts, specially the blush-pink; 
roses of all kinds, except the musk, which 
comes later; honeysuckles, strawberries, bu- 
gloss, columbine, the French marigold, flos 
Africanns, cherry-tree in fruit, ribes, figs in 
fruit, rasp, vine-flowers, lavender in flowers, 
the sweet satyrian, with the white flower; 
herba muscaria, lilium convallium, the apple- 
tree in blossom. In July come gilliflowers of 


all varieties, musk-rcses, the lime-tree in blos- 
som, early pears, and plums in fruit, genitings, 
codlins. In August come plums of all sorts 
in fruit, pears, apricots, barberries, filberts, 
musk-melons, monks-hoods of all colors. In 
September come grapes, apples, poppies of all 
colors, jpeaches, melocotones, nectarines, cor- 
nelians, wardens, quinces. In October, and 
the beginning of November come services, 
medlars, bullaces, roses cut or removed to 
come late, holly-oaks, and such like. These 
particulars are for the climate of London ; but 
my meaning is perceived, that you may have 
"Ver perpetuum, " as the place affords. 

And because the breath of flowers is far 
sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes, 
like the warbling of music), than in the hand, 
therefore nothing is more fit for that delight, 
than to know what be the flowers and plants 
that do best perfume the air. Roses, damask 
and red, are fast flowers of their smells; so 
that you may walk by a whole row of them, 
and find nothing of their sweetness: yea, 
though it be in a morning's dew. Bays, like- 
wise, yield no smell as they grow, rosemary 
little, nor sweet majoram; that which, above 
all others, yields the sweetest smell in the air, 
is the violet, especially the white double vio- 
let, which comes twice a year, about the mid- 
dle of April, and about Bartholomew tide. 
Next to that is the musk-rose; then the straw- 
berry leaves dying, with a most excellent cor- 
dial smell ; then the flowers of the vines, it is 
a little dust like the dust of a bent, which 


grows upon the cluster in the first coming 
forth; then sweet-briar, then wall-flowers, 
which are very delightful to be set upon a par- 
lor or lower chamber window ; then pinks and 
gilliflowers, especially the matted pink and 
clove gilliflower ; then the flowers of the lime- 
tree ; then the honeysuckles, so they be some- 
what afar off. Of bean-flowers I speak not, 
because they are field flowers; but those which 
perfume the air most delightfully, not passed 
by as the rest, but being trodden upon and 
crushed, are there; that is, burnet, wild thyme, 
and water- mints; therefore you are to set 
whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure 
when you walk or tread. 

For gardens (speaking of those which are in- 
deed prince-like, as we have done of buildings) 
the contents ought not well to be under thirty 
acres of ground, and to be divided into three 
parts; a green in the entrance, a heath, or 
desert, in the going forth, and the main gar- 
den in the midst, besides alleys on both sides ; 
and I like well that four acres of ground be 
assigned to the green, six to the heath, four 
and four to either side, and twelve to the main 
garden. The green hath two pleasures: the 
one, because nothing is more pleasant to the 
eye than green grass kept finely shorn ; the 
other, because it will give you a fair alley in 
the midst, by which you may go in front upon 
a stately hedge, which is to enclose the garden ; 
but because the alley will be long, and in 
great heat of the year, or day, you ought not 
to buy the shade in the garden by going in the 


sun through the green, therefore you are, of 
either side the green, to plant a covert alley, 
upon carpenter's work, about twelve foot in 
height, by which you may go in shade into the 
garden. As for the making of knots, or fig- 
ures, with divers colored earths, that they may 
lie under the windows of the house on that 
side which the garden stands, they be but toys; 
you may see as good sights many times in tarts. 
The garden is best to be square, encompassed 
on all the four sides with a stately arched 
hedge, the arches to be upon pillars of carpen- 
ter's work, of some ten foot high, and six foot 
broad, and the spaces between of the same 
dimension with the breadth of the arch. Over 
the arches let there be an entire hedge of 
some four foot high, framed also upon carpen- 
ter's work ; and upon the upper hedge, over 
every arch, a little turret, with a belly enough 
to receive a cage of birds: and over every 
space between the arches some other little fig- 
ure, with broad plates of round colored glass 
gilt, for the sun to play upon : but this hedge, 
I intend to be raised upon a bank, not steep 
but gently slope, of some six foot, set all with 
flowers. Also I understand, that this square 
of the garden should not be the whole breadth 
of the ground, but to leave on either side 
ground enough for diversity of side alleys, unto 
which the two covert alleys of the green may 
deliver you, but there must be no alleys with 
hedges at either end of this great enclosure; 
not at the hither end, for letting your prospect 
upon this fair hedge from the green; nor at the 


further end, for letting your prospect from 
the hedge through the arches upon heath. 

For the ordering of the ground within the 
great hedge, I leave it to variety of device ; 
advising, nevertheless, that whatsoever form 
you cast it into first, it be not too bushy, or 
full of work: wherein I, for my part, do not 
like images cut out in juniper or other garden 
stuff; they be for children. Little low hedges, 
round like wells, with some pretty pyramids, I 
like well ; and in some places fair columns, 
upon frames of carpenter's work. I would 
also have the alleys spacious and fair. You 
may have closer alleys upon the side grounds, 
but none in the main garden. I wish also, in 
the very middle, a fair mount, with three 
ascents and alleys, enough for four to walk 
abreast; which I would have to be perfect cir- 
cles, without any bulwarks or embossments; 
and the whole mount to be thirty foot high, 
and some fine banqueting-house with some 
chimneys neatly cast, and without too much 

For fountains, they are a great beauty 
and refreshment; but pools mar all, and 
make the garden unwholesome and full of 
flies and frogs. Fountains I intend to be of 
two natures: the one that sprinkleth or 
spouteth water: the other a fair receipt of 
water, of some thirty or forty foot square, but 
without fish, or slime, or mud. For the first, 
the ornaments of images, gilt or of marble, 
which are in use, do well: but the main mat- 
ter is so to convey the water, as it never stay, 


either in the bowls or in the cistern: that the 
water be never by rest discolored green, or 
red, or the like, or gather any mossiness or pu- 
trefaction; besides that, it is to be cleaned 
every day by the hand : also some steps up to 
it, and some fine pavement about it doth well. 
As for the other kind of fountain, which we 
may call a bathing-pool, it may admit much 
curiosity and beauty, wherewith we will not 
trouble ourselves: as, that the bottom be finely 
paved, and w r ith images: the sides, likewise; 
and withal embellished with colored glass, and 
such things of lustre ; encompassed also with 
fine rails of low statures: but the main point 
is the same which we mentioned in the former 
kind of fountain ; which is, that the water be 
in perpetual motion, fed by a water higher 
than the pool, and delivered into it by fair 
spouts, and then discharged away under ground 
by some equality of bores, that it stay little : 
and for fine devices, of arching waters without 
spilling, and making it rise in several forms 
(of feathers, drinking-glasses, canopies, and 
the like) ; they be pretty things to look upon, 
but nothing to health and sweetness. 

For the heath, which was the third part of 
our plot, I wish it to be framed as much as 
may be to a natural wildness. Trees I would 
have none in it, but some thickets made only of 
sweet-briar and honeysuckle, and some wild 
vine amongst; and the ground set with violets, 
strawberries, and primroses; for these are 
sweet, and prosper in the shade; and these to 
be in the heath here and there, not in any or- 


der. I like also little heaps, in the nature of 
mole-hills (such as are in wild heaths), to be 
set, some with wild thyme, some with pinks, 
some with germander, that gives a good flow- 
er to the eye; some with periwinkle, some 
with violets, some with strawberries; some 
with cowslips, some with daisies, some with 
red roses, some with lilium convallium, some 
with sweet- Williams red, some with bear's 
foot, and the like low flowers, being withal 
sweet and sightly; part of which heaps to be 
with standards of little bushes pricked upon 
their top, and part without ; the standards to 
be roses, juniper, holly, barberries (but here 
and there, because of the smell of their blos- 
soms), red currants, gooseberries, rosemary, 
bays, sweet-briar, and such like: but these 
standards to be kept with cutting that they 
grow not out of course. 

For the side grounds, you are to fill them 
with variety of alleys, private, to give a full 
shade; some of them, wheresoever the sun be. 
You are to frame some of them likewise for 
shelter, that when the wind blows sharp, you 
may walk as in a gallery: and those alleys 
must be likewise hedged at both ends, to keep 
out the wind; and these closer alleys must be 
ever finely graveled, and no grass, because of 
going wet. In many of these alleys, likewise, 
you are to set fruit-trees of all sorts, as well 
upon the walls as in ranges, and this should be 
generally observed, that the borders wherein 
you plant your fruit-trees be fair, and large, 
and low, and not steep; and set with fine flow- 

12 Bacon 


ers, but thin and sparingly lest they deceive 
the trees. At the end of both the side grounds 
I would have a mount of some pretty height, 
leaving the wall of the enclosure breast-high, 
to look abroad into the fields. 

For the main garden I do not deny but there 
should be some fair alleys ranged on both 
sides, with fruit-trees, and some pretty tufts of 
fruit-trees and arbors with seats, set in some 
decent order; but these to be by no means set 
too thick, but to leave the main garden so as 
it be not close, but the air open and free. For 
as for shade, I would have you rest upon the 
alleys of the side grounds, there to walk, if 
you be disposed, in the heat of the year or 
day ; but to make account that the main gar- 
den is for the more temperate parts of the 
year, and, in the heat of summer for the morn- 
ing and the evening or overcast days. 

For aviaries, I like them not, except they 
be of that largeness as they may be turfted, 
and have living plants and bushes set in them; 
that the birds may have more scope and natu- 
ral nesting, and that no foulness appear in the 
floor of the aviary. So I have made a plat- 
form of a princely garden, partly by precept, 
partly by drawing; not a model, but some gen- 
eral lines of it ; and in this I have spared for 
no cost : but it is nothing for great princes, 
that for the most part taking advice with work- 
men with no less cost set their things together, 
and sometimes add statues and such things, 
for state and magnificence, but nothing to the 
true pleasure of a garden. 



It is generally better to deal by speech than 
by letter, and by the mediation of a third than 
by a man's self. Letters are good, when a 
man would draw an answer by letter back 
again; or when it may serve for a man's justi- 
fication afterward to produce his own letter; 
or where it may be danger to be interrupted, 
or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, 
when a man's face breedeth regard, as com- 
monly with inferiors; or in tender cases when 
a man's eye upon the countenance of him with 
whom, he speaketh, may give him a direction 
how far to go : and generally where a man will 
reserve to himself liberty, either to disavow or 
to expound. In choice of instruments, it is 
better to choose men of a plainer sort, that are 
like to do that, that is committed to them, and 
to report back again faithfully the success, than 
those that are cunning to contrive out of other 
men's business somewhat to grace themselves, 
and will help the matter in report, for satisfac- 
tion sake. Use also such persons as affect the 
business wherein they are employed, for that 
quickeneth much ; and such as are fit for the 
matter, as bold men for expostulation, fair- 
spoken men for persuasion, crafty men for in- 
quiry and observation, froward and absurd men 
for business that doth not well bear out itself. 
Use also such as have been lucky and prevailed 
before in things wherein you have employed 
them ; for that breeds confidence, and they will 
strive to maintain their prescription. It is 


better to sound a person with whom one deals 
afar off than to fall upon the point at first, ex- 
cept you mean to surprise him by some short 
question. It is better dealing with men in 
appetite, than with those that are where they 
would be. If a man deal with another upon 
conditions, the start of first performance is all: 
which a man cannot reasonably demand, except 
either the nature of the thing be such, which 
must go before : or else a man can persuade 
the other party, that he shall still need him in 
some other thing; or else that he be counted 
the honester man. All practice is to discover, 
or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, 
in passion, at unawares; and of necessity, 
when they would have somewhat done, and 
cannot find an apt pretext. If you would work 
any man, you must either know his nature and 
fashions, and so lead him ; or his ends, and so 
persuade him ; or his weakness and disadvan- 
tages, and so awe him, or those that have 
interest in him, and so govern him. In deal- 
ing with cunning persons, we must ever con- 
sider their ends, to interpret their speeches ; 
and it is good to say little to them, and that 
which they least look for. In all negotiations 
of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and 
reap at once ; but must prepare business, and 
so ripen it by degrees. 



Costly followers are not to be liked; lest 
while a man maketh his train longer, he make 
his wings shorter. I reckon to be costly, not 
them alone which charge the purse, but 
which are wearisome and importune in suits. 
Ordinary followers ought to challenge no 
higher conditions than countenance, recom- 
mendation, and protection from wrongs. Fac- 
tious followers are worse to be liked, which 
follow not upon affection to him with whom 
they range themselves, but upon discontent- 
ment conceived against some other; where- 
upon commonly ensueth that ill intelligence, 
that we many times see between great person- 
ages. Likewise glorious followers, who make 
themselves as trumpets of the commendation 
of those they follow, are full of inconveniences, 
for they taint business through want of secrecy ; 
and they export honor from a man and make 
him a return in envy. There is a kind of fol- 
lowers, likewise, which are dangerous, being 
indeed espials; which inquire the secrets of the 
house, and bear tales of them to others; yet 
such men, many times, are in great favor; for 
they are officious, and commonly exchange 
tales. The following by certain estates of 
men answerable to that which a great person 
himself prof esse th (as of soldiers to him that 
hath been employed in the wars, and the like) 
hath ever been a thing civil and well taken 
even in monarchies, so it be without too much 


pomp or popularity, but the most honorable 
kind of following, is to be followed as one that 
apprehendeth to advance virtue and desert in all 
sorts of persons; and yet where there is no 
eminent odds in sufficiency it is better to take 
with the more passable, than w r ith the more 
able ; and besides, to speak truth in base times, 
active men are of more use than virtuous. It 
is true, that in government, it is good to use 
men of one rank equally : for to countenance 
some extraordinary, is to make them insolent 
and the rest discontent; because they may 
claim a due : but contrariwise in favor, to use 
men with much difference and election is good ; 
for it maketh the persons preferred more 
thankful, and the rest more officious : because 
all is of favor. It is good discretion not to 
make too much of any man at the first ; because 
one cannot hold out that proportion. To be 
governed (as we call it) by one, is not safe ; 
for it shows softness, and gives a freedom to 
scandal and disreputation ; for those that would 
not censure, or speak ill of a man immediately, 
will talk more boldly of those that are so great 
with them, and thereby wound their honor; 
yet to be distracted with many, is worse; for 
it makes men to be of the last impression, and 
full of change. To take advice of some few 
friends is over honorable; for lookers-on many 
times see more than gamesters: and the vale 
best discovereth the hill. There is little 
friendship in the world, and least of all between 
equals, which was wont to be magnified. 
That that is, is between superior and inferior 


whose fortunes may comprehend the one the 


Many ill matters and projects are under- 
taken; and private suits do putrefy the public 
good. Many good matters are undertaken 
with bad minds; I mean not only corrupt 
minds, but crafty minds; that intend not per- 
formance. Some embrace suits, which never 
mean to deal effectually in them ; but if they 
see there may be life in the matter, by some 
other means they will be content to win a 
thank, or take a second reward, or at least, to 
make use in the meantime of the suitor's 
hopes. Some take hold of suits only for an 
occasion to cross some other, or to make an 
information, whereof they could not otherwise 
have apt pretext, without care what become 
of the suit when that turn is served; or, gen- 
erally to make other men's business a kind of 
entertainment to bring in their own: nay, 
some undertake suits with a full purpose to let 
them fall ; to the end to gratify the adverse 
party, or competitor. Surely there is in some 
sort a right in every suit; either a right of 
equity, if it be a suit of controversy, or a right 
of desert, if it be a suit of petition. If affec- 
tion lead a man to favor the wrong side in just- 
ice, let him rather use his countenance to com- 
pound the matter than to carry it. If affection 
lead a man to favor the less worthy in desert, 
let him do it without depraving or disabling 


the better deserver. In suits which a man 
doth not well understand, it is good to refer 
them to some friend of trust and judgment, 
that may report w r hether he may deal in them 
with honor: but let him choose well his refer- 
endaries, for else he may be led by the nose. 
Suitors are so distasted with delays and abuses 
that plain dealing in denying to deal in suits 
at first, and reporting the success barely, and 
in challenging no more thanks than one hath 
deserved, is grown not only honorable but also 
gracious. In suits of favor, the first coming 
out to take little place ; so far forth considera- 
tion may be had of his trust, that if intelligence 
of the matters could not otherwise have been 
had but by him, advantage be not taken of the 
note, but the party left to his other means; 
and in some sort recompensed for his discovery. 
To be ignorant of the value of a suit, is sim- 
plicity; as well as to be ignorant of the right 
thereof, is want of conscience. Secrecy in 
suits is a great mean of obtaining; for voicing 
them to be in forwardness may discourage some 
kind of suitors; but doth quicken and awake 
others: but timing of the suit is the principal; 
timing I say not only in respect of the person 
that should grant it, but in respect of those 
which are like to cross it. Let a man, in the 
choice of his mean, rather choose the fittest 
mean, than the greatest mean; and rather 
them that deal in certain things, than those 
that are general. The reparation of a denial 
is sometimes equal to the first grant, if a man 
show himself neither dejected nor discontented. 


"Iniquum petas, ut aequum feras, M is a good 
rule, where a man hath strength of favor; but 
otherwise a man were better rise in his suit ; 
for he that would have ventured at first to have 
lost the suitor, will not, in the conclusion, lose 
both the suitor and his own former favor. 
Nothing is thought so easy a request to a great 
person, as his letter; and yet, if it be not in a 
good cause, it is so much out of his reputation. 
There are no worse instruments than these 
general contrivers of suits : for they are but a 
kind of poison and infection to public proceed- 


Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and 
for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in 
privateness and retiring: for ornament, is in 
discourse ; and for ability, is in the judgment 
and disposition of business; for expert men 
can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, 
one by one : but the general counsels, and the 
plots and marshaling of affairs come best from 
those that are learned. To spend too much 
time in stories is sloth: to use them too much 
for ornament, is affectation; to make judg- 
ment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a 
scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected 
by experience: for natural abilities are like 
natural plants, that need pruning by study; 
and studies themselves do give forth directions 
too much at large, except they be bounded in 
by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, 
simple men admire them, and wise men use 


them ; for they teach not their own use ; but 
that is a wisdom; without them and above 
them, won by observation. Read not to con- 
tradict and confute, nor to believe and take for 
granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to 
weigh and consider. Some books are to be 
tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few 
to be chewed and digested ; that is, some books 
are to be read only in parts ; others to be read 
but not curiously ; and some few to be read 
wholly, and with diligence and attention. 
Some books also may be read by deputy, and 
extracts made of them by others; but that 
would be only in the less important arguments 
and the meaner sort of books; else distilled 
books are, like common distilled waters, flashy 
things. Reading maketh a full man ; confer- 
ence a ready man ; and writing an exact man ; 
and, therefore, if a man write little, he had 
need have a great memory; if he confer little, 
he had need have a present wit; and if he read 
little, he need have much cunning, to seem to 
know that he doth not. Histories make men 
wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; 
natural philosophy, deep ; moral, grave ; logic 
and rhetoric, able to contend : " Abeunt studia 
in mores," nay, there is no stand or impedi- 
ment in the wit, but may be wrought out by 
fit studies: like as diseases of the body may 
have appropriate exercises; bowling is good, 
for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs 
and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, 
riding for the head and the like; so if a man's 
wit be wandering, let him study the mathe- 


matics; for in demonstrations, his wit be 
called away never so little, he must begin 
again ; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or 
find difference, let him study the schoolmen ; 
for they are "Cymini sectores. " If he be not 
apt to beat over matters and to call up one 
thing to prove and illustrate another, let him 
study the lawyers' cases: so every defect of the 
mind may have a special receipt. 


Many have an opinion not wise, that for a 
prince to govern his estate, or for a great per- 
son to govern his proceedings, according to the 
respect of factions, is a principal part of policy ; 
whereas, contrariwise, the chiefest wisdom is 
either, in ordering those things which are gen- 
eral, and wherein men of several factions do 
nevertheless agree, or in dealing with corres- 
pondence to particular persons, one by one : 
but I say not, that the consideration of factions 
is to be neglected. Mean men in their rising 
must adhere; but great men that have strength 
in themselves, were better to maintain them- 
selves indifferent and neutral: yet even in 
beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be 
a man of the one faction, which is most pas- 
sable with the other, commonly giveth best 
way. The lower and weaker faction is the 
firmer in conjunction; and it is often seen, that 
a few that are stiff, do tire out a great number 
that are more moderate. When one of the 
factions is extinguished, the remaining subdi- 


videth; as the faction between Lucullus and 
the rest of the nobles of the senate (which 
they called "opti mates ) held out a while 
against the faction of Pompey and Caesar ; but 
when the senate's authority was pulled down, 
Caesar and Pompey soon after brake. The 
faction or party of Antonius and Octavianus 
Caesar, against Brutus and Cassius, held out 
likewise for a time ; but when Brutus and Cas- 
sius were overthrown, then soon after Antonius 
and Octavianus brake and subdivided. These 
examples are of wars, but the same holdeth 
in private factions: and therefore, those that 
are seconds in factions, do many times, when 
the faction subdivideth, prove principals; but 
many times also they prove ciphers and cash- 
iered; for many a man's strength is in opposi- 
tion; and when that faileth, he groweth out of 
use. It is commonly seen, that men once 
placed, take in with the contrary faction to 
that by which they enter; thinking, belike, 
that they have the first sure, and now are 
ready for a new purchase. The traitor in fac- 
tion lightly goeth away with it, for when mat- 
ters have stuck long in balancing, the winning 
of some one man casteth them, and he getteth 
all the thanks. The even carriage between 
two factions proceedeth not always of modera- 
tion, but of a trueness to a man's self, with end 
to make use of both. Certainly, in Italy, they 
hold it a little suspect in popes, when they 
have often in their mouth " Padre comune:" 
and take it to be a sign of one that meaneth to 
refer all to the greatness of his own house. 


Kings had need beware how they side them- 
selves and made themselves as of a faction or 
party; for leagues within the state are ever 
pernicious to monarchies; for they raise an 
obligation paramount to obligation of sov- 
ereignty, and make the king "tanquam unus 
ex nobis;" as was to be seen in the League of 
France. When factions are carried too high 
and too violently, it is a sign of weakness in 
princes, and much to the prejudice both of 
their authority and business. The motions of 
factions under kings ought to be like the mo- 
tions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior 
orbs, which may have their proper motions, 
but yet still are quietly carried by the higher 
motion of "primum mobile. " 


He that is only real, had need have exceed- 
ing great parts of virtue; as the stone had 
need to be rich that is set without foil ; but if a 
man mark it well, it is in praise and commen- 
dation of men, as it is in gettings and gains: 
for the proverb is true, " That light gains make 
heavy purses ; M for light gains come thick, 
whereas great come but now and then: so it is 
true, that small matters win great commenda- 
tion, because they are continually in use and 
in note: whereas the occasion of any great 
virtue cometh but on festivals ; therefore it doth 
much add to a man's reputation, and is (as 
Queen Isabella said) like perpetual letters com- 
mendatory, to have good forms; to attain 


them, it almost sufficeth not to despise them; 
for so shall a man observe them in others; 
and let him trust himself with the rest ; for if 
he labor too much to express them, he shall 
lose their grace ; which is to be natural and 
unaffected. Some men's behavior is like a 
verse, wherein every syllable is measured; 
how can a man comprehend great matters, 
that breaketh his mind too much to small 
observations? Not to use ceremonies at all is 
to teach others not to use them again ; and so 
diminisheth respect to himself; Especially they 
be not to be omitted to strangers and formal 
natures: but the dwelling upon them, and 
exalting them above the moon, is not only 
tedious, but doth diminish the faith and credit 
of him that speaks; and, certainly, there is a 
kind of conveying of effectual and imprinting 
passages amongst compliments, which is of 
singular use, if a man can hit upon it. 
Amongst a man's peers, a man shall be sure of 
familiarity; and therefore, it is good a little to 
keep state; amongst a man's inferiors, one 
shall be sure of reverence ; and therefore it is 
good a little to be familiar. He that is too 
much in anything, so that he giveth another 
occasion of satiety, maketh himself cheap. To 
apply one's self to others is good; so it be with 
demonstration, that a man doth it upon regard, 
and not upon facility. It is a good precept, 
generally in seconding another, yet to add 
somewhat of one's own: as if you will grant 
his opinion, let it be with some distinction; if 
you will follow his motion, let it be with con- 


dition ; if you allow his counsel, let it be with 
alleging further reason. Men had need beware 
how they be too perfect in compliments ; for 
they be never so sufficient otherwise, their 
enviers will be sure to give them that attribuie, 
to the disadvantage of their greater virtues. 
It is loss also in business to be too full of 
respects, or to be too curious in observing times 
and opportunities. Solomon saith, "He that 
considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that 
looketh to the clouds shall not reap. " A 
wise man will make more opportunities than 
he finds. Men's behavior should be like their 
apparel, not too straight or point device, but 
free for exercise or motion. 


Praise is the reflection of virtue ; but it is 
glass, or body, which giveth the reflection. If 
it be from the common people, it is commonly 
false and naught, and rather followeth vain 
persons than virtuous; for the common people 
understand not many excellent virtues: the 
lowest virtues draw praise from them, the 
middle virtues work in them astonishment or 
admiration; but of the highest virtues they 
have no sense or perceiving at all; but shows 
and "species virtutibus similes,' ' serve best 
with them. Certainly, fame is like a river, 
that beareth up things light and swollen, and 
drowns things weighty and solid; but if per- 
sons of quality and judgment concur, then it 
is (as the Scripture saith), "Nomen bonum 


instar unguenti fragrantis:" it filleth all round 
about, and will not easily away ; for the odors 
of ointments are more durable than those of 
flowers. There be so many false points of 
praise, that a man may justly hold it a suspect. 
Some praises proceed merely of flattery ; and 
if he be an ordinary flatterer, he will have cer- 
tain common attributes, which may serve every 
man ; if he be a cunning flatterer, he will fol- 
low the arch-flatterer, which is a man's self, 
and wherein a man thinketh best of himself, 
therein the flatterer will uphold him most: 
but if he be an impudent flatterer, look wherein 
a man is conscious to himself that he is most 
defective, and is most out of countenance in 
himself, that will the flatterer entitle him to, 
perforce, "spreta conscientia. " Some praises 
come of good wishes and respects, which is a 
form due in civility to kings and great persons, 
"laudando praecipere;" when by telling men 
what they are they represent to them what 
they should be; some men are praised malic- 
iously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and 
jealously toward them; "Pessimum genus 
inimicorum laudantium; ,, insomuch as it was 
a proverb amongst the Grecians that, "he that 
was praised to his hurt, should have a push rise 
upon his nose;" as we say, that a blister will 
rise upon one's tongue that tells a lie; cer- 
tainly, moderate praise, used with opportunity, 
and not vulgar, is that which doth the good. 
Solomon saith, "He that praiseth his friend 
aloud, rising early, it shall be to him no better 
than a curse. " Too much magnifying of man 


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" Praise is the reflection of virtu; 

Bacon's Essays. 

Page 19L 


or matter doth irritate contradiction, and pro- 
cure envy and scorn. To praise a man's self 
cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases ; 
but to praise a man's office or profession, he 
may do it with good grace, and with a kind of 
magnanimity. The cardinals of Rome, which 
are theologues, and friars, and schoolmen, 
have a praise of notable contempt and scorn 
toward civil business; for they call all tem- 
poral business of wars, embassages, judica- 
ture, and other employments, sbirrerie, which 
is tmder-sheriffries, as if they were but mat- 
ters for under-sheriffs and catchpoles ; though 
many times those under-sheriffries do more 
good than their high speculations. St. Paul, 
when he boasts of himself, he doth oft inter- 
lace, "I speak like a fool;" but speaking of his 
calling, he saith, "Magnificabo apostolatum 
meum. ' ' 


It was prettily devised of iEsop, the fly sat 
upon the axle-tree of the chariot-wheel, and 
said, "What a dust do I raise?" So are there 
some vain persons, that whatsoever goeth 
alone, or moveth upon greater means, if they 
have never so little hand in it, they think it is 
they that carry it. They that are glorious must 
needs be factious; for all bravery stands upon 
comparisons. They must needs be violent to 
make good their own vaunts; neither can they 
be secret, and therefore not effectual; but 
according to the French proverb, 4i Beaticoup 

13 Bacon 


de bruit, peu de fruit;" — "much bruit, little 
fruit." Yet, certainly, there is use of this 
quality in civil affairs : where there is an opin- 
ion and fame to be created, either of virtue or 
greatness, these men are good trumpeters. 
Again, as Titus Livius noteth, in the case of 
Antiochus and the JEtolians, there are some- 
times great effects of cross lies ; as if a man 
that negotiates between two princes, to draw 
them to join in a war against the third, doth 
extol the forces of either of them above meas- 
ure, the one to the other : and sometimes he 
that deals between man and man, raiseth his 
own credit with both, by pretending greater 
interest than he hath in either; and in these, 
and the like kinds, it often falls out, that some- 
what is produced of nothing; for lies are. suf- 
ficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on 
substance. In military commanders and sol- 
diers, vain-glory is an essential point ; for as 
iron sharpens iron, so by glory, one courage 
sharpeneth another. In cases of great enter- 
prise upon charge and adventure, a composi- 
tion of glorious natures doth put life into busi- 
ness ; and those that are of solid and sober na- 
tures, have more of the ballast than of the sail. 
In fame of learning, the flight will be slow 
without some feathers of ostentation: "Qui 
de contemnenda gloria libros scribunt, nomen 
suum inscribunt. ' ' Socrates, Aristotle, Galen, 
were men full of ostentation : certainly, vain- 
glory helpeth to perpetuate a man's memory; 
and virtue was never so beholden to human 
nature, as it received its due at the second 


hand. Neither had the fame of Cicero, Sen- 
eca, Plinius Secundus, borne her age so well if 
it had not been joined with some vanity in 
themselves; like unto varnish, that makes ceil- 
ings not only shine, but last. But all this 
while, when I speak of vain-glory, I mean not 
of that property that Tacitus doth attribute to 
Mucianus, "Omnium, quae dixenat feceratque, 
arte quadam ostentator:" for that proceeds not 
of vanity, but of natural magnanimity and 
discretion; and, in some persons, is not only 
comely, but gracious; for excusations, cessions, 
modesty itself, well governed, are but arts of 
ostentation ; and amongst those arts there is 
none better than that which Plinius Secundus 
speaketh of, which is to be liberal of praise 
and commendation to others, in that wherein 
a man's self hath any perfection: for, saith 
Pliny very wittily, 4< In commending another, 
you do yourself right; for he that you com- 
mend is either superior to you in that you com- 
mend, or inferior: if he be inferior, if he be to 
be commended, you much more; if he be 
superior, if he be not to be commended, you 
much less. ' ' Glorious men are the scorn of 
wise men, the admiration of fools, the idols of 
parasites, and the slaves of their own vaunts. 


The winning of honor is but the revealing of 
a man's virtue and worth without disadvan- 
tage ; for some in their actions do woo and 
affect honor and reputation; which sort of 
men are commonly much talked of, but in- 


wardly little admired: and some, contrariwise, 
darken their virtue in the show of it; so as 
they be undervalued in opinion. If a man per- 
form that which hath not been attempted 
before, or attempted and given over, or hath 
been achieved, but not with so good circum- 
stance, he shall purchase more honor than by 
affecting a matter of greater difficulty or vir- 
tue, wherein he is but a follower. If a man so 
temper his actions, as in some one of them he 
doth content every faction or combination of 
people, the music will be the fuller. A man 
is an ill husband of his honor that entereth 
into any action, the failing wherein may dis- 
grace him more than the carrying of it through 
can honor him. Honor that is gained and 
broken upon another hath the quickest reflec- 
tion, like diamonds cut with facets; and, there- 
fore, let a man contend to excel any competi- 
tors of his in honor, in outshooting them, if he 
can, in their own bow. Discreet followers and 
servants help much to reputation: "Omnis 
fama a domesticis emanat. " Envy, which is 
the canker of honor, is best extinguished by 
declaring a man's self in his ends, rather to 
seek merit than fame: and by attributing a 
man's successes rather to Divine providence 
and felicity, than to his own virtue or policy. 
The true marshaling of the degrees of sover- 
eign honor are these: in the first place are 
"conditores imperiorum," founders of states 
and commonwealths; such as were Romulus, 
Cyrus, Caesar, Ottoman, Ismael: in the second 
place are "legislatores," lawgivers, which are 


also called second founders, or "perpetui prin- 
cipes, " because they govern by their ordi- 
nances after they are gone ; such were Lycur- 
gus, Solon, Justinian, Edgar, Alphonsus of 
Castile the Wise, that made the 4i Siete Parti- 
das:'/ in the third place are 44 liberatores, " or 
44 salvatores," such as compound the long 
miseries of civil wars, or deliver their countries 
from servitude of strangers or tyrants; as 
Augustus Caesar, Vespasianus, Aurelianus, 
Theodoricus, King Henry the Seventh of Eng- 
land, King Henry the Fourth of France: in 
the fourth place are 44 propagatores, " or "pro- 
pugnatores imperii/' such as in honorable wars 
enlarged their territories, or make noble 
defense against invaders; and, in the last 
place, are 44 patres patriae,'* which reign justly 
and make the times good wherein they live ; 
both which last kinds need no examples, they 
are in such number. Degrees of honor in sub- 
jects are, first, 44 participes curarum," those 
upon whom princes do discharge the greatest 
weight of their affairs; their right hands, as 
we call them ; the next are 44 duces belli/' great 
leaders; such as are princes' lieutenants, and 
do them notable services in the wars; the third 
are 44 gratiosi," favorites; such as exceed not 
this scantling, to be solace to the sovereign, 
and harmless to the people: and the fourth, 
44 negotiis pares:" such as have great places 
under princes, and execute their places with 
sufficiency. There is an honor, likewise, 
which may be ranked amongst the greatest, 
which happeneth rarely; that is, of such as 



sacrifice themselves to death or danger for the 
good of their country ; as was M. Regulus, and 
the two Decii. 


Judges ought to remember that their office is 
jus dicere," and not "jus dare," to interpret 
law, and not to make law, or give law : else 
will it be like the authority claimed by the 
Church of Rome, which, under pretext of 
exposition of Scripture, doth not stick to add 
and alter, and to pronounce that which they 
do not find, and by show of antiquity to intro- 
duce novelty. Judges ought to be more 
learned than witty, more reverend than 
plausible, and more advised than confident. 
Above all things, integrity is their portion and 
proper virtue. "Cursed (with the law) is he 
that removeth the landmark. M The mislayer 
of a mere stone is to blame; but it is the un- 
just judge that is the capital remover of land- 
marks, when he defineth amiss of lands and 
property. One foul sentence doth more hurt 
than many foul examples; for these do but 
corrupt the stream, the other corrupteth the 
fountain: so saith Solomon, "Fons turbatus at 
vena corrupta est Justus cadens in, causa sua 
coram adversario. " The office of judges may 
have reference unto the parties that sue, unto 
the advocates that plead, unto the clerks and 
ministers of justice underneath them, and to 
the sovereign or state above them. 

First, for the causes or parties that sue. 


44 There be (saith the Scripture) that turn 
judgment into wormwood;" and surely there 
be, also, that turn it into vinegar; for injustice 
maketh it bitter, and delays make it sour. 
The principal duty of a judge is to suppress 
force and fraud; whereof force is the more 
pernicious when it is open, and fraud when it 
is close and disguised. Add thereto conten- 
tious suits, which ought to be spewed out, as 
the surfeit of courts. A judge ought to pre- 
pare his way to a just sentence, as God useth 
lo prepare his way, by raising valleys and 
taking down hills: so when there appeareth 
on either side a high hand, violent prosecution, 
cunning advantages taken, combination, 
power, great counsel, then is the virtue of a 
judge seen to make inequality equal; that he 
may paint his judgment as upon an even 
ground. "Qui fortiter emungit, elicit san- 
guinem," and where the wine-press is hard 
wrought, it yields a harsh wine, that tastes of 
the grape-stone. Judges must beware of hard 
constructions, and strained inferences; for 
there is no worse torture than the torture of 
laws: especially in case of laws penal, they 
ought to have care that that which was meant 
for terror be not turned into rigor : and that 
they bring not upon the people, that shower 
whereof the Scripture speaketh, "Pluet super 
eos laqueos;" for penal laws, pressed, are a 
shower of snares upon the people: therefore, 
let penal laws, if they have been sleepers of 
long, or if they be grown unfit for the present 
time, be by wise judges confined in the execu- 


tion: "Judicis officium est, ut res, ita tempora 
rerum," etc. In causes of life and death, 
judges ought (as far as the law permitteth) in 
justice to remember mercy, and to cast a 
severe eye upon the example, but a merciful 
eye upon the person. 

Secondly, for the advocates and counsel that 
plead. Patience and gravity of hearing is an 
essential part of justice; and an overspeaking 
judge is no well-tuned cymbal. It is no grace 
to judge first to find that which he might have 
heard in due time from the bar; or to show 
quickness of conceit in cutting off evidence or 
counsel too short, or to prevent information by 
questions, though pertinent. The parts of a 
judge in hearing are four: to direct the evi- 
dence ; to moderate length, repetition, or im- 
pertinency of speech; to recapitulate, select, 
and collate the material points of that which 
hath been said ; and to give the rule, or sen- 
tence. Whatsoever is above these is too much, 
and proceedeth either of glory, and willingness 
to speak, or of impatience to hear, or of short- 
ness of memory, or of want of a staid and 
equal attention. It is a strange thing to see 
that the boldness of advocates should prevail 
with judges; whereas they should imitate God, 
in whose seat they sit, who represseth the 
presumptuous, and giveth grace to the modest: 
but it is more strange, that judges should have 
noted favorites, which cannot but cause multi- 
plication of fees, and suspicion of by-ways. 
There is due from the judge to the advocates 
some commendation and gracing, where causes 


are well handled and fair pleaded, especially 
toward the side which obtaineth not; for that 
upholds in the client the reputation of his 
counsel, and beats down in him the conceit of 
his cause. There is likewise due to the public 
a civil reprehension of advocates, where there 
appeareth cunning counsel, gross neglect, 
slight information, indiscreet pressing, or an 
over-bold defense; and let not the counsel at 
the bar chop with the judge, nor wind himself 
into the handling of the cause anew after the 
judge hath declared his sentence; but, on the 
other side, let not the judge meet the cause 
half-way, nor give occasion to the party to say 
his counsel or proofs were not heard. 

Thirdly, for that that concerns clerks and 
ministers. The place of justice is a hallowed 
place; and, therefore, not only the bench, but 
the foot-pace and precincts, and purprise there- 
of ought to be preserved without scandal and 
corruption; for, certainly, M Grapes (as the 
Scripture saith) will not be. gathered of thorns 
or thistles;" neither can justice yield her fruit 
with sweetness amongst the briars and bram- 
bles of catching and polling clerks and minis- 
ters. The attendance of courts is subject to 
four bad instruments: first, certain persons 
that are sower of suits, which make the court 
swell, and the country pine : the second sort is 
of both those that engage courts in quarrels or 
jurisdiction, and are not truly "amici curiae," 
but "parasiti curiae," in puffing a court up 
beyond her bounds for their own scraps and 
advantage : the third sort is of those that may 

14 Brecon 


be accounted the left hands of courts: persons 
that are full of nimble and sinister tricks and 
shifts, whereby they pervert the plain and 
direct courses of courts, and bring justice into 
oblique lines and labyrinths : and the fourth is 
the poller and exacter of fees: which justifies 
the common resemblance of the courts of jus- 
tice to the bush, whereunto while the sheep 
flies for defense in weather, he is sure to lose 
part of his fleece. On the other side, an 
ancient clerk, skilful in precedents, wary in 
proceeding, and understanding in the business 
of the court, is an excellent finger of a court, 
and doth many times point the way to the 
judge himself. 

Fourthly, for that which may concern the 
sovereign and estate. Judges ought, above 
all, to remember the conclusion of the Roman 
Twelve Tables, "Salus populi suprema lex;" 
and to know that laws, except they be in order 
to that end, are but things captious, and ora- 
cles not well inspired: therefore, it is a happy 
thing in a state, when kings and states do 
often consult with judges; and again, when 
judges do often consult with the king and state : 
the one, when there is matter of law interven- 
ient in business of state; the other, when there 
is some consideration of state intervenient in 
matter of law; for many times the things de- 
duced to judgment may be "meum" and 
"tuum" when the reason and consequence 
thereof may trench to point of estate : I call 
matter of estate, not only the parts of sover- 
eignty, but whatsoever introduceth any great 


alteration, or dangerous precedent; or con- 
cerneth manifestly any great portion of people : 
and let no man weakly conceive that just laws 
and true policy have any antipathy ; for they 
are like the spirits and sinews, that one moves 
with the other. Let judges also remember, 
that Solomon's throne was supported by lions 
on both sides : let them be lions, but yet lions 
under the throne : being circumspect that they 
do not check or oppose any points of sover- 
eignty. Let not judges also be so ignorant of 
their own right, as to think there is not left to 
them, as a principal part of their office, a wise 
use and application of laws; for they may 
remember what the apostle saith of a greater 
law than theirs. "Nos scimus quia lex bona 
est, modo quis ea utatur legitime." 


To seek to extinguish anger utterly is but a 
bravery of the Stoics. We have better oracles : 
"Be angry, but sin not: let not the sun go 
down upon your anger. ' ' Anger must be lim- 
ited and confined both in race and in time. 
We will speak first how the natural inclination 
and habit, "to be angry," may be tempered 
and calmed; secondly, how the particular 
motions of anger may be repressed, or, at least, 
refrained from doing mischief ; thirdly, how to 
raise anger or appease anger in another. 

For the first, there is no other way but to 
meditate and ruminate well upon the effects 
of anger, how it troubles man's life: and the 


best time to do this, is to look back upon 
anger when the fit is thoroughly over. Seneca 
saith well, "that anger is iike a ruin, which 
breaks itself upon that it falls. ' ' The Scripture 
exhorteth us "to possess our souls in patience;" 
whosoever is out of patience is out of posses- 
sion of his soul. Men must not turn bees; 

"Animasque in vulnere ponunt." 

Anger is certainly a kind of baseness; as it 
appears well in the weakness of those subjects 
in whom it reigns: children, women, old folks, 
sick folks. Only men must beware that they 
carry their anger rather with scorn than with 
fear ; so that they may seem rather to be above 
the injury than below it; which is a thing 
easily done, if a man will give law to himself 
in it. 

For the second point, the causes and motives 
of anger are chiefly three : first, to be too sen- 
sible of hurt; for no man is angry that feels 
not himself hurt; and therefore tender and 
delicate persons must needs be oft angry, they 
have so many things to trouble them, which 
more robust natures have little sense of : the 
next is, the apprehension and construction of 
the injury offered, to be, in the circum- 
stances thereof, full of contempt : for contempt 
is that which putteth an edge upon anger, as 
much, or more, than the hurt itself; and, 
therefore, when men are ingenious in picking 
out circumstances of contempt, they do kindle 
their anger much : lastly, opinion of the touch 
of a man's reputation doth multiply and 


sharpen anger; wherein the remedy is, that a 
man should have, as Gonsalvo was wont to 
say, "Telam honoris crassiorem." But in all 
retrainings of anger, it is the best remedy to 
win time, and to make a man's self believe 
that the opportunity of his revenge is not yet 
come ; but that he foresees a time for it, and 
so to still himself in the meantime, and re- 
serve it. 

To contain anger from mischief, though it 
take hold of a man, there be two things 
whereof you must have special caution: the 
one, of extreme bitterness of words, especially 
if they be aculeate and proper; for "communia 
maledicta' , are nothing so much; and again 
that in anger a man reveals no secrets; for 
that it makes him not fit for society : the other 
that you do not peremptorily break off in any 
business in a fit of anger; but howsoever you 
show bitterness, do not act anything that is 
not revocable. 

For raising and appeasing anger in another, 
it is done chiefly by choosing of times, when 
men are frowardest and worst disposed to in- 
cense them; again, by gathering (as we 
touched before) all that you can find out to 
aggravate the contempt; and the two remedies 
are by the contraries ; the former to take good 
times, when first to relate to a man an angry 
business; for the first impression is much; and 
the other is, to sever, as much as may be, the 
construction of the injury from the point of 
contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, 
fear, passion, or what you will. 



Solomon saith, "There is no new thing upon 
the earth ;" so that as Plato had imagination 
that all knowledge was but remembrance ; so 
Solomon giveth his sentence, "That all nov- 
elty is but oblivion;'' whereby you may see, 
that the river of Lethe runneth as well above 
ground as below. There is an abstruse astrol- 
oger that saith, if it were not for two things 
that are constant (the one is, that the fixed 
stars ever stand at like distance one from an- 
other, and never come nearer together, nor go 
further asunder; the other, that the diurnal 
motion perpetually keepeth time), no indi- 
vidual would last one moment: certain it is, 
that the matter is in a perpetual flux, and 
never at a stay. The great winding-sheets that 
bury all things in oblivion are two; deluges 
and earthquakes. As for conflagrations and 
great droughts, they do not merely dispeople, 
but destroy. Phaeton's car went but a day; 
and the three years' drought in the time of 
Elias was but particular, and left people alive. 
As for the great burnings by lightnings, which 
are often in the West Indies, they are but nar- 
row; but in the other two destructions, by del- 
uge and earthquake, it is further to be noted, 
that the remnant of people which happen to be 
reserved, are commonly ignorant and moun- 
tainous people, that can give no account of the 
time past ; so that the oblivion is all one as if 
none had been left. If you consider well 
of the people of the West Indies, it is very 


probable that they are a newer, or a younger 
people than the people of the old world ; and 
it is much more likely that the destruction that 
hath heretofore been there, was not by earth- 
quakes (as the Egyptian priest told Solon, con- 
cerning the island of Atlantis, that it was swal- 
lowed by an earthquake), but rather that it 
was desolated by a particular deluge ; for earth- 
quakes are seldom in those parts; but on the 
other side, they have such pouring rivers, as 
the rivers of Asia, and Africa, and Europe, are 
but brooks to them. Their Andes, likewise, 
or mountains, are far higher than those with 
us; whereby it seems, that the remnants of 
generation of men were in such a particular 
deluge saved. As for the observation that 
Machiavel hath, that the jealousy of sects doth 
much extinguish the memory of things; tra- 
ducing Gregory the Great, that he did what in 
him lay to extinguish all heathen antiquities; 
I do not find that those zeals do any great 
effects, nor last long; as it appeared in the 
succession of Sabinian, who did revive the for- 
mer antiquities. 

The vicissitude, or mutations, in the supe- 
rior globe, are no fit matter for this present 
argument. It may be, Plato's great year, if 
the world should last so long, would have some 
effect, not in renewing the state of life indi- 
viduals (for that is the fume of those that con- 
ceive the celestial bodies have more accurate 
influences upon these things below, than in- 
deed they have), but in gross. Comets, out of 
question, have likewise power and effect over 


the gross and mass of things; but they are 
rather gazed, and waited upon in their jour- 
ney, than wisely observed in their effects; 
especially in their respective effects; that is, 
what kind of comet for magnitude, color, ver- 
sion of the beams, placing in the region of 
heaven, or lasting, produceth what kind of 

There is a toy, which I have heard, and I 
would not have it given over, but waited upon 
a little. They say it is observed in the Low 
Countries (I know not in what part), that every 
five and thirty years the same kind and suit of 
years and weather comes about again; as great 
frosts, great wet, great droughts, warm win- 
ters, summers with little heat, and the like; 
and they call it the prime ; it is a thing I do 
the rather mention, because, computing back- 
ward, I have found some concurrence. 

But to leave these points of nature, and to 
come to men. The greatest vicissitude of 
things amongst men, is the vicissitude of sects 
and religions: for those orbs rule in men's 
minds most. The true religion is built upon 
the rock ; the rest are tossed upon the waves 
of time. To speak, therefore, of the causes of 
new sects, and to give some counsel concern- 
ing them, as far as the weakness of human 
judgment can give stay to so great revolutions. 
When the religion formerly received is rent 
by discords, and when the holiness of the pro- 
fessors of religion is decayed and full of scan- 
dal, and withal the times be stupid, ignorant, 
and barbarous, you may doubt the springing 


up of a new sect ; if then also there should 
arise any extravagant and strange spirit to 
make himself author thereof: all which points 
held when Mahomet published his law. If a 
new sect have not two properties, fear it not, 
-for it will not spread: the one is the supplant- 
ing or the opposition of authority established ; 
for nothing is more popular than that; the 
other is the giving license to pleasures and a 
voluptuous life: for as for speculative heresies 
(such as were in ancient times the Arians, 
and now the Arminians), though they work 
mightily upon men's wits, yet they do not pro- 
duce any great alterations in states; except it 
be by the help of civil occasions. There be 
three manner of plantations of new sects: by 
the power of signs and miracles ; by the elo- 
quence and wisdom of speech and persuasion ; 
and by the sword. For martyrdoms, I reckon 
them amongst miracles, because they seem to 
exceed the strength of human nature; and I 
may do the like of superlative and admirable 
holiness of life. Surely there is no better way 
to stop the rising of new sects and schisms, 
than to reform abuses; to compound the 
smaller differences; to proceed mildly and not 
with sanguinary persecutions; and rather to 
take off the principal authors, by winning and 
advancing them, than to enrage them by vio- 
lence and bitterness. 

The changes and vicissitude in wars are 
many: but chiefly in three things: in the seats 
or stages of the war, in the weapons, and in 
the manner of the conduct. Wars, in ancient 

14 Bacon 


times, seemed more to move from east to 
west; for the Persians, Assyrians, Arabians, 
Tartars (which were the invaders), were all 
eastern people. It is true, the Gauls were 
western ; but we read but of two incursions of 
theirs: the one to Gallo-Graecia, the other to 
Rome: but east and west have no certain 
points of heaven; and no more have the wars, 
either from the east or west, any certainty of 
observation; but north and south are fixed; 
and it hath seldom or never been seen that the 
far southern people have invaded the northern, 
but contrariwise; whereby it is manifest that 
the northern tract of the world is in nature 
the more martial region : be it in respect of 
the stars of that hemisphere, or of the great 
continents that are upon the north ; whereas 
the south part, for aught that is known, is 
almost all sea; or (which is most apparent) of 
the cold of the northern parts, which is that 
which, without aid of discipline, doth make the 
bodies hardest, and the courage warmest. 

Upon the breaking and shivering of a great 
state and empire, you may be sure to have 
wars: for great empires, while they stand, do 
enervate and destroy the forces of the natives 
which they have subdued, resting upon their 
own protecting forces ; and then, when they fail 
also all goes to ruin, and they become a prey; 
so was it in the decay of the Roman empire, 
and likewise in the empire of Almaigne, after 
Charles the Great, every bird taking a feather; 
and were not unlike to befall to Spain, if it 
should break. The great accessions and unions 


of kingdoms do likewise stir up wars : for when 
a state grows to an over-power, it is like a great 
flood, that will be sure to overflow ; as it hath 
been seen in the states of Rome, Turkey, 
Spain, and others. Look when the w r orld hath 
fewest barbarous people, but such as com- 
monly will not marry, or generate, except 
they know means to live (as it is almost every- 
where at this day, except Tartary), there is no 
danger of inundations of people; but when 
there be great shoals of people, which go on to 
populate, without foreseeing means of life and 
sustentation, it is of necessity that once in an 
age or two they discharge a portion of their 
people upon other nations, which the ancient 
northern people were wont to do by lot ; cast- 
ing lots what part should stay at home, and 
what should seek their fortunes. When a war- 
like state grows soft and effeminate, they may 
be sure of a war : for commonly such states 
are grown rich in the time of their degenerat- 
ing: and so the prey invite th, and their decay 
in valor encourageth a war. 

As for the weapons, it hardly falleth under 
rule and observation: yet we see even they 
have returns and vicissitudes; for certain it is, 
that ordnance was known in the city of Oxi- 
draces, in India; and was that which the Mace- 
donians called thunder and lightning, and 
magic; and it is well known that the use of 
ordnance hath been in China above two thou- 
sand years. The conditions of weapons, and 
their improvements are, first, the fetching afar 
off; for that outruns the danger, as it is seen 


in ordnance and muskets; secondly, the 
strength of the percussion, wherein likewise 
ordnance do exceed all arietations, and ancient 
inventions ; the third is, the commodious use 
of them as that may serve in all weathers, that 
the carriage may be light and manageable, 
and the like. 

For the conduct of the war: at the first, 
men rested extremely upon number; they did 
put the wars likewise upon main force and 
valor, pointing days for pitched fields, and so 
trying it out upon an even match ; and they 
were more ignorant in ranging and arraying 
their battles. After they grew to rest upon 
number, rather competent than vast, they 
grew to advantages of place, cunning diver- 
sions, and the like, and they grew more skilful 
in the ordering of their battles. 

In the youth of a state, arms do flourish ; in 
the middle age of a state, learning; and then 
both of them together for a time; in the de- 
clining age of a state, mechanical arts and 
merchandise. Learning hath its infancy when 
it is but beginning, and almost childish ; then 
its youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; 
then its strength of years, when it is solid and 
reduced ; and, lastly, its old age, when it waxeth 
dry and exhaust; but it is not good to look too 
long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, 
lest we become giddy; as for the philology of 
them, that is but a circle of tales, and there- 
fore not fit for this writing. 



The poets make Fame a monster: they de- 
scribe her in part finely and elegantly, and in 
part gravely and sententiously ; they say. Look 
how many feathers she hath, so many eyes 
she hath underneath, so many tongues, so 
many voices, she pricks up so many ears. 

This is a flourish; there follow excellent 
parables; as that she gathereth strength in 
going, that she goeth upon the ground, and 
yet hideth her head in the clouds; that in the 
day-time she sitteth in a watch-tower, and 
flieth most by night; that she mingleth things 
done with things not done ; and that she is a 
terror to great cities; but that which passeth 
all the rest is, they do recount that the earth 
mother of the giants that made war against 
Jupiter, and were by him destroyed, there- 
upon in anger brought forth Fame; forcer- 
tain it is, that rebels, figured by the giants, and 
seditious fames and libels are but brothers and 
sisters, masculine and feminine; but now if a 
man can tame this monster, and bring her to 
feed at the hand and govern her, and with her 
fly other ravening fowl, and kill them, it is 
somewhat worth : but we are infected with the 
style of the poets. To speak now in a sad and 
serious manner, there is not in all the politics 
a place less handled, and more worthy to be 
handled, than this of fame. We will therefore 
speak of these points: what are false fames, 
and what are true fames, and how they may 
be best discerned ; how fames may be sown 


and raised; how they may be spread and mul- 
tiplied; and how they may be checked and 
laid dead; and other things concerning the 
nature of fame. Fame is of that force, as there 
is scarcely any great action wherein it hath 
not a great part, especially in the war. Muci- 
anus undid Vitellius by a fame that he scat- 
tered, that Vitellius had in purpose to remove 
the legions of Syria into Germany, and the le- 
gions of Germany into Syria; whereupon the 
legions of Syria were infinitely inflamed. 
Julius Caesar took Pompey unprovided, and 
laid asleep his industry and preparations by 
a fame that he cunningly gave out, how 
Caesar's own soldiers loved him not; and being 
wearied with the wars, and laden with the 
spoils of Gaul, would forsake him as soon as he 
came into Italy. Livia settled all things for 
the succession of her son Tiberius, by continu- 
ally giving out that her husband Augustus was 
upon recovery and amendment; and it is a 
usual thing with the bashaws to conceal the 
death of the Grand Turk from the janisaries 
and men of war, to save the sacking of Con- 
stantinople, and other towns, as their manner 
is. Themistocles made Xerxes, king of 
Persia, post apace out of Graecia, by giving out 
that the Grecians had a purpose to break his 
bridge of ships which he had made athwart 
Hessespont. There be a thousand such like 
examples, and the more they are, the less they 
need to be repeated, because a man meeteth 
with them everywhere : therefore let all wise 
governors have as great a watch and care over 


fames, as they have of the actions and designs 


i. A king is a mortal God on earth, unto 
whom the living God hath lent his own name 
as a great honor; but withal told him, he 
should die like a man, lest he should be proud 
and flatter himself, that God hath, with his 
name, imparted unto him his nature also. 

2. Of all kind of men, God is the least 
beholden unto them; for he doth most for 
them, and they do, ordinarily, least for him. 

3. A king .that would not feel his crown 
too heavy for him, must wear it every day; 
but if he think it too light, he knoweth not of 
what metal it is made. 

4. He must make religion the rule of gov- 
ernment, and not to balance the scale; for he 
that casteth in religion only to make the 
scales even, his own weight is contained in 
those characters: "Mene, mene, tekel, uphar- 
sin: He is found too light, his kingdom shall 
be taken from him. M 

5. And that king that holds not religion the 
best reason of state, is void of all piety and 
justice, the supporters of a king. 

6. He must be able to give counsel himself, 
but not rely thereupon; for though happy 
events justify their counsels, yet it is better 
that the evil event of good advice be rather 
imputed to a subject than a sovereign. 

7. He is the fountain of honor, which 
should not run with a waste-pipe, lest the 


courtiers sell the water, and then, as Papists 
say of their holy wells, it loses the virtue. 

8. He is the life of the law, not only as he 
is Lexloquens himself, but because he animateth 
the dead letter, making it active toward all his 
subjects proemio et poena. 

9. A wise king must do less in altering his 
laws than he may; for new government is ever 
dangerous. It being true in the body politic, 
as in the corporal, that om?iis subita immutatio est 
pericidosa; and though it be for the better, 
yet it is not without a fearful apprehension ; 
for he that changeth the fundamental laws of 
a kingdom, thinketh there is no good title to 
a crown, but by conquest. 

10. A king that setteth to sale seats of jus- 
tice, oppresseth the people ; for he teacheth his 
judges to sell justice, and pretio porata pretio 
venditor justitia. 

11. Bounty and magnificence are virtues 
very regal, but a prodigal king is nearer a 
tyrant than a parsimonious; for store at home 
draweth not his contemplations abroad, but 
want supplieth itself of what is next, and many 
times the next way. A king therein must be 
wise, and know what he may justly do. 

12. That king which is not feared, is not 
loved; and he that is well seen in his craft, 
must as well study to be feared as loved; yet 
not loved for fear, but feared for love. 

13. Therefore, as he must always resemble 
Him whose great name he beareth, and that 
as in manifesting the sweet influence of his 
mercy on the severe stroke of his justice some- 


times, so in this not to suffer a man of death 
to live, for besides that the land doth mourn, 
the restraint of justice toward sin doth more 
retard the affection of love, than the extent of 
mercy doth inflame it; and sure, where love 
is [ill] bestowed, fear is quite lost. 

14. His greatest enemies are his flatterers; 
for though they ever speak on his side, yet 
their words still make against him. 

15. The love which a king oweth to a weal 
public should not be overstrained to any one 
particular; yet that his more especial favor 
do reflect upon some worthy ones, is somewhat 
necessary, because there are few of that 

16. He must have a special care of five 
things, if he would not have his crown to be 
but to him infclix felicitas. 

First, that simulate! sanctitas be not in the 
church ; for that is dupex iuiqiritas. 

Secondly, that imttilis ccquiias set not in the 
chancery ; for that is inepia misericordia. 

Thirdly, that utilis irdquitas keep not the 
exchequer ; for that is crudele latrochrium. 

Fourthly, that fidelis temeritas be not his 
general, for that would bring but scram poen- 

Fifthly, that i?ifi delis pnidentia be not his 
secretary; for that is angids sub viridi herba. 

To conclude: as he is of the greatest power, 
so he is subject to the greatest cares, made the 
servant of his people, or else he were without 
a calling at all. 

He, then, that honoreth him not is next an 


atheist, wanting the fear of God in his 


i. I have often thought upon death, and I 
find it the least of all evils. All that which 
is past is as a dream ; and he that hopes or de- 
pends upon time coming, dreams waking. So 
much of our life as we have discovered is 
already dead; and all those hours which we 
share, even from the breasts of our mothers, 
until we return to our grandmother the earth, 
are part of our dying days, whereof even this 
is one, and those that succeed are of the same 
nature, for we die daily ; and as others have 
given place to us, so we must in the end give 
way to others. 

2. Physicians in the name of death include 
all sorrow, anguish, disease, calamity, or what- 
soever can fall in the life of man, either griev- 
ous or unwelcome. But these things are 
familiar unto us, and we suffer them every 
hour; therefore we die daily, and I am older 
since I affirmed it. 

3. I know many wise men that fear to die; 
for the change is bitter, and flesh would refuse 
to prove it: besides, the expectation brings 
terror, and that exceeds the evil. But I do not 
believe that any man fears to be dead, but 
only the stroke of death ; and such are my 
hopes, that if heaven be pleased, and nature 
renew but my lease for twenty-one years 
more, without asking longer days, I shall be 
strong enough to acknowledge without mourn- 


ing, that I was begotten mortal. Virtue 
walks not in the highway, though she go per 
alta; this is strength and the blood of virtue, 
to contemn things that be desired, and to 
neglect that which is feared. 

4. Why should man be in love with his 
fetters, though of gold? Art thou drowned in 
security? Then I say thou art perfectly dead. 
For though thou movest, yet thy soul is buried 
within thee, and thy good angel either for- 
sakes his guard or sleeps. There is nothing 
under heaven, saving a true friend (who can- 
not be counted within the number of mova- 
bles), unto which my heart doth lean. And 
this dear freedom hath begotten me this 
peace, that I mourn not for that end which 
must be, nor spend one wish to have one 
minute added to the uncertain date of my 
years. It was no mean apprehension of 
Lucian, who says of Menippus, that in his 
travels through hell, he knew not the kings of 
the earth from the other men but only by 
their louder cryings and tears, which were 
fostered in them through the remorseful 
memory of the good days they had seen, and 
the fruitful havings which they so unwillingly 
left behind them: he that was well seated, 
looked back at his portion, and was loath to 
forsake his farm; and others, either minding 
marriages, pleasures, profit or preferment, 
desired to be excused from death's banquet: 
they had made an appointment with earth, 
looking at the blessings, not the hand that 
enlarged them, forgetting how unclothedly 


they came hither, or with what naked orna- 
ments they were arrayed. 

5. But were we servants of the precept 
given, and observers of the heathens' rule, 
memento mori, and not become benighted with 
this seeming felicity, we should enjoy it as 
men prepared to lose, and not wind up our 
thoughts upon so perishing a fortune: he that 
is not slackly strong (as the servants of pleas- 
ure), how can he be found unready to quit the 
veil and false visage of his perfection? The 
soul having shaken off her flesh, doth then 
set up for herself, and contemning things that 
are under, shows what finger hath enforced 
her; for the souls of idiots are of the same 
piece with those of statesmen, but now and 
then nature is at a fault, and this good guest 
of ours takes soil in an imperfect body, and so 
is slackened from showing her wonders, like an 
excellent musician which cannot utter himself 
upon a defective instrument. 

6. But see how I am swerved, and lose my 
course, touching at the soul that doth least 
hold action with death, who hath the surest 
property in this frail act; his style is the end 
of all flesh, and the beginning of incorruption. 

This ruler of monuments leads men for the 
most part out of this world with their heels 
forward, in token that he is contrary to life, 
which being obtained, sends men headlong 
into this wretched theater, where being arrived, 
their first language is that of mourning. Nor 
in my own thoughts, can I compare men more 
fitly to anything than to the Indian fig-tree, 


which, being ripened to his full height, is said 
to decline his branches down to the earth, 
whereof she conceives again, and they become 
roots in their own stock. 

So man, having derived his being from the 
earth, first lives the life of a tree, drawing his 
nourishment as a plant, and made ripe for 
earth, he tends downward, and is sowed again 
in his mother the earth, where he perisheth 
not, but expects a quickening. 

7. So we see death exempts not a man from 
being, but only presents an alteration; yet 
there are some men (I think) that stand other- 
wise persuaded. Death finds not a worse 
friend than an alderman, to whose door I 
never knew him welcome ; but he is an im- 
portunate guest, and will not be said nay. 

And though they themselves shall affirm 
that they are not within, yet the answer will 
not be taken; and that which heightens their 
fear is, that they know they are in danger to 
forfeit their flesh, but are not wise of the pay- 
ment-day, which sickly uncertainty is the occa- 
sion that (for the most part) they step out of 
this world unfurnished for their general ac- 
count, and being all unprovided, desire yet to 
hold their gravity, preparing their souls to 
answer in scarlet. 

Thus I gather, that death is unagreeable to 
most citizens, because they commonly die 
intestate; this being a rule, that when their 
will is made, they think themselves nearer a 
grave than before: now they, out of the wis- 
doms of thousands, think to scare destiny, 


from which there is no appeal, by not making 
a will, or to live longer by protestation of their 
unwillingness to die. They are for the most 
part well made in this world (accounting their 
treasures by legions, as men do devils) : their 
fortune looks toward them, and they are will- 
ing to anchor at it, and desire (if it be possible) 
to put the evil day far off from them, and to 
adjourn their ungrateful and killing period. 

No, these are not the men which have 
bespoken death, or whose looks are assured 
to entertain a thought of him. 

8. Death arrives gracious only to such as 
sit in darkness, or lie heavy burthened with 
grief and irons ; to the poor Christian, that sits 
bound in the galley; to despairful widows, 
pensive prisoners, and deposed kings; to them 
whose fortune runs back, and whose spirits 
mutiny: unto such death is a redeemer, and 
the grave a place for retiredness and rest. 

These wait upon the shore of death, and 
waft unto him to draw near, wishing above all 
others to see his star, that they might be led 
to his place; wooing the remorseless sisters to 
wind down the watch of their life, and to 
break them off before the hour. 

9. But death is a doleful messenger to a 
usurer, and fate untimely cuts their thread; 
for it is never mentioned by him, but when 
rumors of war and civil tumults put him in 
mind thereof. 

And when many hands are armed, and the 
peace of a city in disorder, and the foot of the 
common soldiers sounds an alarm on his stairs, 


then perhaps such a one (broken in thoughts 
of his moneys abroad, and cursing the monu- 
ments of coin which are in his house) can be 
content to think of death, and (being hasty of 
perdition) will perhaps hang himself, lest his 
throat should be cut ; provided that he may do 
it in his study, surrounded with wealth, to 
which his eye sends a faint and languishing 
salute, even upon the turning off; remember- 
ing always, that he have time and liberty, by 
writing, to depute himself as his own heir. 

For that is a great peace to his end, and 
reconciles him wonderfully upon the point. 

10. Herein we all dally with ourselves, and 
are without proof of necessity. I am not of 
those, that dare promise to pine away myself 
in vain glory, and I hold such to be but feat 
boldness, and then that dare commit it, to be 
vain. Yet for my part, I think nature should 
do me great wrong, if I should be so long in 
dying, as I was in being born. 

To speak truth, no man knows the lists of 
his own patience : nor can divine how able he 
shall be in his sufferings, till the storm come 
(the perfectest virtue being tried in action) : 
but I would (out of a care to do the best busi- 
ness well) ever keep a guard, and stand upon 
keeping faith and a good conscience. 

ii. And if wishes might find place, I would 
die together, and not my mind often, and my 
body once ; that is, I would prepare for the 
messengers of death, sickness and affliction, 
and not wait long, or be attempted by the 
violence of pain. 


Herein I do not profess myself a Stoic, to 
hold grief no evil, but opinion, and a thing 

But I consent with Caesar, that the suddenest 
passage is easiest, and there is nothing more 
awakens our resolve and readiness to die than 
the quieted conscience, strengthened with 
opinion, that wc shall be well spoken of upon 
earth by those that are just, and of the family 
of virtue; the opposite whereof is a fury to 
man, and makes even life unsweet. 

Therefore, what is more heavy than evil 
fame deserved? Or likewise, who can see worse 
days, than he that yet living doth follow at 
the funerals of his own reputation? 

I have laid up many hopes, that I am privi- 
leged from that kind of mourning, and could 
wish the like peace to all those with whom I 
wage love. 

12. I might say much of the commodities 
that death can sell a man; but briefly, death 
is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to 
entertain him, is not at home. Whilst I am, 
my ambition is not to fore-flow the tide; I 
have but so to make my interest of it as I may 
account for it; I would wish nothing but what 
might better my days, not desire any greater 
place than the front of good opinion. I make 
not love to the continuance of days, but to the 
goodness of them ; nor wish to die, but refer 
myself to my hour, which the great dispenser 
of all things hath appointed me ; yet as I am 
frail and suffered for the first fault, were it 
given me to choose, I should not be earnest 


to see the evening of my age ; that extremity 
of itself being a disease, and a mere return 
into infancy: so that if perpetuity of life 
might be given me, I should think what the 
Greek poet said, "Such an age is a mortal 
evil, " And since I must needs be dead, I 
require it may not be done before mine ene- 
mies, that I be not stript before I be cold; 
but before my friends. The night was even 
now: but that name is lost; it is not now late, 
but early. Mine eyes begin to discharge 
their watch, and compound with this fleshy 
weakness for a time of perpetual rest ; and I 
shall presently be as happy for a few hours, 
as I had died the first hour I was born. 

15 Baccn 





Studies serve for pastimes, for ornaments, 
for abilities; their chief use for pastimes is in 
privateness and retiring; for ornaments in dis- 
course; and for ability in judgment; for expert 
men can execute, but learned men are more fit 
to judge and censure. To spend too much 
time in them is sloth : to use them too much 
for ornament is affectation; to make judgment 
wholly by their rules is the humor of a scholar; 
they perfect nature, and are themselves per- 
fected by experience; crafty men contemn 
them, wise men use them, simple men admire 
them ; for they teach not their own use, but 
that there is a wisdom without them and above 
them won by observation. Read not to con- 
tradict nor to believe, but to weigh and con- 
sider. Some books are to be tasted, others to 
be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and 
digested ; that is, some are to be read only in 
parts, others to be read but curiously, and 
some few to be read wholly with diligence and 
attention. Reading maketh a full man, con- 
ference a ready, and writing an exact man; 
therefore, if a man write little, he had need of 
a great memory; if he confer little, he had 



need of a present wit ; and if he read little, he 
had need have much cunning to seem to know 
that he doth not know. Histories make wise 
men; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; 
natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic 
and rhetoric able to contend. 


Some, in their discourse, desire rather com- 
mendation of wit in being able to hold all 
arguments than of judgment in discerning what 
is true, as if it were a praise to know what 
might be said, and not what should be thought; 
some have certain commonplaces and themes 
wherein they are good and want variety, which 
kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, 
and now and then ridiculous; the honorablest 
part of talk is to give the occasion, and again 
to moderate and pass to somewhat else; it is 
good to vary, and mix speech of the present 
occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, 
asking of questions with telling of opinions, 
and jest with earnest; but somethings are 
privileged from jest — namely, religion, matters 
of State, great persons, all men's present busi- 
ness of importance, and any case that deserves 
pity. He that questioneth much shall learn 
much and content much, especially if he apply 
his questions to the skill of the party of whom 
he asketh, for he shall give them occasion to 
please themselves in speaking, and himself 
shall continually gather knowledge ; if some- 
times you dissemble your knowledge of that 


you are thought to know, you shall be thought 
another time to know that which you know 
not. Speech of a man's self is not good often, 
and there is but one thing wherein a man may 
commend himself with good grace, and that is 
commending virtue in another; especially if it 
be such a virtue as whereunto himself pretend- 
eth. Discretion of speech is more than elo- 
quence, and to speak agreeably to him with 
whom we deal is more than to speak in good 
words or in good order. A good continued 
speech, without a good speech of interlocution, 
shows slowless; and a good second speech 
without a good set speech shows shallowness. 
To use too many circumstances ere one comes 
to the matter is wearisome, and to use none at 
all is blunt. 


He that is only real needed exceeding great 
parts of virtue, as the stone had need to be 
exceeding rich that it set without foil; but 
commonly it is in praise as it is in gain, for as 
the proverb is true that light gains make 
heavy purses, because they come thick, whereas 
the great come but now and then ; so it is as 
true that small matters win great commenda- 
tion because they are continually in use and in 
note, whereas the occasion of any great virtue 
cometh but on holidays. To attain good forms 
it sufficeth not to despise them, for so shall a 
man observe them in others, and let him trust 
himself with the rest ; for if he care to express 


them he shall lose their grace, which is to be 
natural and unaffected. Some men's behavior 
is like a verse, wherein every syllable is 
measured. How can a man observe great mat- 
ter that breaketh his mind too much in small 
observations? Not to use ceremonies at all is 
to teach others not to use them again, and so 
diminish his respect; especially they are not to 
be omitted to strangers and strange natures. 
Among a man's equals a man shall be sure of 
familiarity, and therefore it is good a little to 
keep state ; among a man's inferiors a man shall 
be sure of reverence, and therefore it is good 
a little to be familiar. He that is too much in 
anything, so that he giveth another occasion of 
satiety, maketh himself cheap. To apply one's 
self to others a§ good, so it be with demonstra- 
tion that a dan does it upon regard, and not 
upon facility. It is a good precept generally 
in seconding another, yet to add somewhat of 
his own ; if you grant his opinion, let it be 
with some distinction ; if you will follow his 
motion, let it be with condition ; if you allow 
his counsel, let it be with alleging farther 


Costly followers are not to be liked, lest while 
a man maketh his train longer he maketh his 
wings shorter. I reckon to be costly not them 
alone which charge the purse, but which are 
wearisome and importunate in suits. Ordi- 
nary followers ought to challenge no higher 


conditions than countenance, recommendation, 
and protection from wrong 1 . Factious follow- 
ers are worse to be liked which follow not upon 
r.ffection to him with whom they range them- 
selves, but upon some discontentment received 
against some others, whereupon commonly 
ensueth that ill intelligence that many times 
we see between great personages ; the follow- 
ing of certain states answerable to that which 
a great personage himself professeth, as of sol- 
diers to him that hath been employed in the 
wars; and the like hath ever been a thing civil, 
and well taken even in monarchies, so it be 
without too much pomp or popularity. But 
the most honorable kind of following is to be 
followed, as one that intendeth to advance vir- 
tue and desert in all sorts of persons ; and yet 
where there is no imminent odds in sufficiency, 
it is better to take with the more passable than 
with the more able. In government of charge 
it is good to use men of one rank equally; for 
to countenance some extraordinarily is to make 
them insolent and the rest discontent, because 
they may claim a due. But in favors to use 
men with much difference and election is good, 
for it maketh the persons preferred more thank- 
ful and the rest affectious, because all is of 
favor. It is good not to make too much of any 
man at first, because one cannot hold out that 
proportion. To be governed by one is not 
good, and to be distracted by man}?- is worse ; 
but to take advice of friends is ever honorable: 
for lookers on many times see more than game- 
sters, and the vale best discovereth the hill. 

16 Bacon 


There is little friendship in the world, and 
least of all between equals; that which is, is 
between superior and inferior, whose fortunes 
may comprehend the one the other. 


Many ill matters are undertaken, and many 
good matters with ill minds; some embrace 
suits which never mean to deal effectually in 
them, but if they see there may be life in 
the matter by some other mean, they will 
be content to win a thank, or take a second 
reward. Some take hold of suits only for an 
occasion to cross some others, or to make an 
information, whereof they could not otherwise 
have apt pretext, without care of what become 
of the suit when that turn is served; nay, some 
undertake suits with a full purpose to let them 
fall to the end to gratify the adverse party, or 
competitor. Surely there is in sort a right in 
every suit, either a right of equity, if it be a 
suit of controversy, or a right of desert, if it be 
a suit of petition ; if affection lead a man to 
favor the wrong side, in justice rather let him 
use his countenance to compound the matter 
than to carry it; if affection lead a man to 
favor the less worthy in desert, let him do 
without depraving or disabling the better 
deserver ; in suits which a man doth not under- 
stand, it is good to refer them to some friend 
of his, of trust and judgment, that may report 
whether he may deal in them with honor. 
Suitors are so distasted with delays and abuses 


that plain dealing in denying to deal in suits at 
first, and reporting the success barely, and in 
challenging no mdre thanks than one hath 
deserved, is grown not only honorable, but also 
gracious; in suits of favor the first coming 
ought to take but little place, so far forth con- 
sideration may be had of his trust, that if intel- 
ligence of the matter could not otherwise have 
been had but by him, advantage be not taken 
of the note ; to be ignorant of the value of a 
suit is simplicity, as well as to be ignorant of 
the right thereof is want of conscience ; secrecy 
in suits is a great mean of obtaining ; for voic- 
ing them to be in forwardness may discourage 
some kind of suitors, but doth quicken and 
awake others ; but timing of suits is the prin- 
cipal; timing, I say, not only in respect of the 
person that should grant it, but in respect of 
those which are like to cross it; nothing is 
thought so easy a request to a great man as his 
letter, and yet not in an ill cause, it is so much 
out of his reputation. 


Riches are for spending, and spending for 
honor and good action; therefore, extraordi- 
nary expense must be limited by the worth of 
the occasion ; for voluntary undoing may be as 
well for a man's country as for the kingdom of 
heaven; but ordinary expense ought to be 
limited by a man's estate, and governed with 
such regard as it be within his compass, and 
not subject to deceit, and abuse of servants, 


and ordered by the best show, that the bills 
may be less than the estimation abroad. It is 
no baseness for the greatest to descend and 
look into their own estate ; some forbear it not 
of negligence alone, but doubting to bring 
themselves into melancholy in respect they 
shall find it broken; but wounds cannot be 
cured without searching ; he that cannot look 
into his own estate had need both to choose 
well those whom he employeth and change 
them often ; for new men are more timorous 
and less subtile; in clearing of a man's estate 
he may as well hurt himself in being too sud- 
den as in letting it run out too long; for hasty 
selling is commonly as disadvantageable as 
interest; he that hath a state to repair may not 
despise small things ; and commonly it is less 
dishonor to abridge petty charges than to stoop 
to petty gettings ; a man ought warily to begin 
charges which begun must continue, but in 
matters that return not he may be more 


There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules 
of physic; a man's own observation, what he 
finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, is the 
best physic to preserve health, but it is a safer 
conclusion to say this agreeth well with me, 
therefore I will continue it; I find no offense 
of this, therefore I may use it ; for strength of 
nature in youth passeth over many excesses, 
which are owing a man till his age; discern of 


the coming on of years, and think not to do the 
same things still. Beware of any sudden 
change in any great point of diet, and if 
necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it; to be free- 
minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of 
meat, and of sleep and of exercise, is the best 
precept of long lasting. If you fly physic in 
health altogether, it will be too strong for your 
body when you shall need it; if you make it 
too familiar it will work no extraordinary effect 
when sickness cometh; despise no new acci- 
dent in the body, but ask opinion of it; in sick- 
ness principally respect health, and in health 
action; for those that put their bodies to 
endure in health, may in most sicknesses which 
are very sharp be cured only with diet and 
good tending. Physicians are some of them so 
pleasing to the humors of the patient they press 
not the true cure of the disease; and some 
others so regular in proceeding according to art 
for the disease as they respect not sufficiently 
the condition of the patient. Take one of a 
mild temper, and forget not to call as well the 
best acquainted with your body as the best 
reputed of for his faculty. 


The winning of honor is but the revealing of 
a man's virtue and worth without disadvant- 
age; for some in their actions do affect honor 
and reputation, which sort of men are much 
talked of, but inwardly little admired; and 
some darken their virtue in the show of it, so 


that they be undervalued in opinion. If a man 
perform that which hath not been attempted 
before, or attempted and given over, or hath 
been achieved, but not with so good circum- 
stance, he shall purchase more honor than by 
effecting a matter of greater difficulty wherein 
he is but a follower. If a man so temper his 
actions as in some of them he do content every 
faction, the music will be the fuller. A man 
is an ill husband of his honor that entereth into 
any action the failing wherein may disgrace him 
more than the carrying it through can honor 
him. Discreet followers help much to reputa- 
tion Envy, which is the canker of honor, is 
best bistinguished by declaring a man's self in 
his ends, rather to seek merit than fame, and 
by attributing a man's success rather to Prov- 
idence and felicity than to his own virtue and 
policy. The true marshalling of the degrees of 
sovereign honor are these : In the first place, 
Co?iditores, founders of states; in the second 
place are Legislatives, lawgivers, which are also 
called second founders; or Perpetui principes, 
because they govern by their ordinances after 
they are gone ; in the third place are Liber atores, 
such as compound the long miseries of civil 
wars or deliver their country from the servi- 
tude of strangers or tyrants; in the fourth 
place are Propagatores, or Propugnatores imperii^ 
such as in honorable wars enlarge their terri- 
tories, or make noble defense against the 
invaders ; and in the last place are Patriae patres, 
which reign justly, and make the times good 
wherein they live. Degrees of honor in sub- 


jects are, first Participes curarutn, those upon 
whom princes do discharge the greatest weight 
of their affairs, their right hands as we call 
them ; the next are Duces belli, great leaders, 
such as are princes' lieutenants, and do them 
notable service in the wars; the third are 
Gratiosi favorites, such as exceed not this scant- 
ling to be solace to their sovereign and harm- 
less to the people ; and the fourth are called 
Negotiis pares, such as have great places under 
princes, and execute their places with suffi- 


Many have a new wisdom, otherwise called 
a fond opinion, that for a prince to govern his 
estate, or for a great person to govern his 
proceedings according to the respect of faction, 
is the principal part of policy. Whereas, con- 
trariwise, the chiefest wisdom is either in 
ordering those things which are general, and 
wherein men of several factions do neverthe- 
less agree, or in dealing with correspondent 
persons one by one. But I say not that the con- 
sideration of factions is to be neglected. Mean 
men must adhere, but great men, that have 
strength in themselves, were better to main- 
tain themselves indifferent and neutral; yet, 
even in beginners, to adhere so moderately as 
he be a man of the one faction which is pas- 
sablest with the other, commonly giveth best 
way. The lower and weaker faction is the 
firmer in condition. When one of the factions 


is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth, 
which is good for a second. It is commonly 
seen that men once placed take in with the 
contrary faction to that by which they enter. 
The traitor in factions lightly goeth away with 
it, for when matters have stuck long in balanc- 
ing, the winning of some one man casteth 
them, and he getteth all the thanks. 


It is better generally to deal by speech than 
by letters, and by the mediation of a third 
than by one's self. Letters are good, when a 
man would draw an answer by letter back 
again, or when it may serve for a man's justi- 
fication afterward to produce his own letter. 
To deal in person is good, where a man's face 
breeds regard, as commonly with inferiors. 
In choice of instruments, it is better to choose 
men of a plainer sort, that are likely to do that 
which is committed unto them, and to report 
back again faithfully the success, than they 
that are cunning to contrive out of other men's 
business somewhat to grace themselves, and 
will help the matter in report for satisfaction's 
sake. It is better to sound a person with 
whom one dealeth afar off than to fall upon 
the point at first, except you mean to surprise 
him by some short question. It is better deal- 
ing with men of appetite than with those 
who are where they would be. If a man deal 
with another upon conditions, the start, or first 
performance, is all which a man can reason- 


ably demand, except either the nature of the 
thing be such which must go before; or else a 
man can persuade the other party that he 
shall need him in some other thing, or else that 
he be counted the honester man. All practice 
% to discover, or to make men discover them- 
selves in trust, in passion, at unawares, and of 
necessity, where they would have somewhat 
done and cannot find an apt pretext. If you 
would work any man, you must either know 
his nature and fashions, and so lead him ; or 
his ends, and so win him; or his weaknesses or 
disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that 
have interest in him, and so govern him. In 
dealing with cunning persons, we must ever 
consider their ends to interpret their speeches, 
and it is good to say little unto them, and that 
which they least look for. 

16 Bacon 





his grace, lord high admiral of england. 

Excellent Lord: 

Solomon says, "A good name is as a pre- 
cious ointment;" and I assure myself such will 
your Grace's name be with posterity, for your 
fortune and merit both have been eminent, 
and you have planted things that are like to 
last. I do now publish my Essays, which of all 
my other works have been most current, for 
that, as it seems, they come home to men's 
business and bosoms. I have enlarged them, 
both in number and weight, so that the} r are, 
indeed, a 'new work. I thought it, therefore, 
agreeable to my affection and obligation to 
your Grace to prefix your name before them, 
both in English and in Latin. For I do con- 
ceive that the Latin volume of them (being in 
the universal language) may last as long as 
books last. My Instauration I dedicated to 
the King; my History of Henry the Seventh 
(which I have now also translated into Latin) 
and my Portions of Natural History to the 
Prince, and these I dedicated to your Grace, 
being of the best fruits that by the good in- 
crease which God gives to my pen and labors I 
could yield. God lead your Grace by the hand. 

Your Grace's most obliged and faithful 
servant, Fr. St. Alban. 





The earliest antiquity lies buried in silence 
and oblivion, excepting the remains we have 
of it in sacred writ. This silence was succeed- 
ed by poetical fables, and these, at length, by 
the writings we now enjoy: so that the con- 
cealed and secret learning of the ancients 
seems separated from the history and knowl- 
edge of the following ages by a veil, or parti- 
tion wall of fables, interposing between the 
things that are lost and those that remain. 

Many may imagine that I am here entering 
upon a work of fancy, or amusement, and 
design to use a poetical liberty, in explaining 
poetical fables. It is true, fables in general 
are composed of ductile matter, that may be 
drawn into great variety by a witty talent or 
an inventive genius, and be delivered of plaus- 
ible meanings which they never contained. 
But this procedure has already been carried to 
excess; and great numbers, to procure the 
sanction of antiquity to their own notions and 
inventions, have miserably wrested and abused 
the fables of the ancients. 



Nor is this only a late or infrequent practice, 
but of ancient date, and common even to this 
day. Thus Chrysippus, like an interpreter of 
dreams, attributed the opinions of the Stoics to 
the poets of old ; and the chemists, at present, 
more childishly apply the poetical transforma- 
tions to their experiments of the furnace. 
And though I have well weighed and considered 
all this, and thoroughly seen into the levity 
which the mind indulges for allegories and 
allusions, yet I cannot but retain a high value 
for the ancient mythology. And, certainly, it 
were very injudicious to suffer the fondness 
and licentiousness of a few to detract from the 
honor of allegory and parable in general. 
This would be rash and almost profane ; for 
since religion delights in such shadows and dis- 
guises, to abolish them were, in a manner, to 
prohibit all intercourse betwixt things divine 
and human. 

Upon deliberate consideration, my judgment 
is that a concealed instruction and allegory 
was originally intended in many of the ancient 
fables. This opinion may, in some respect, be 
owing to the veneration I have for antiquity, 
but more to observing that some fables discover 
a great and evident similitude, relation, and 
connection with the thing they signify, as well 
in the structure of the fable as in the propriety 
of the names whereby the persons or actors are 
characterized; insomuch, that no one could 
positively deny a sense and meaning to be 
from the first intended, and purposely shad- 
owed out in them. For who can hear that 


Fame, after the giants were destroyed, sprung 
up as their posthumous sister, and not apply it 
to the clamor of parties and the seditious 
rumors which commonly fly about for a time 
upon the quelling of insurrections? Or who 
can read how the giant Typhon cut out and 
carried away Jupiter's sinews — which Mercury 
afterward stole and again restored to Jupiter — 
and not presently observe that this allegory 
denotes strong and powerful rebellions, which 
cut away from kings their sinews, both of 
money and authority; and that the way to 
have them restored is by lenity, affability, and 
prudent edicts, which soon reconcile, and, as 
it were, steal upon the affections of the sub- 
ject? Or who, upon hearing that memorable 
expedition of the gods against the giants, when 
the braying of Silenus* ass greatly contributed 
in putting the giants to flight, does not clearly 
conceive that this directly points at the mon- 
strous enterprises of rebellious subjects, which 
are frequently frustrated and disappointed by 
vain fears and empty rumors? 

Again, the conformity and purport of the 
names is frequently manifest and self-evident. 
Thus Metis, the wife of Jupiter, plainly signi- 
fies counsel; Typhon, swelling; Pan, univer- 
sality; Nemesis, revenge, etc. Nor is it a 
wonder, if sometimes a piece of history or 
other things are introduced, by way of orna- 
ment; or if the times of the action are con- 
founded ; or if part of one fable be tacked to 
another ; or if the allegory be new turned ; for 
all this most necessarily happen, as the fables 


were the inventions of men who lived in differ- 
ent ages and had different views ; some of them 
being ancient, others more modern; some 
having an eye to natural philosophy, and others 
to morality or civil policy. 

It may pass for a further indication of a con- 
cealed and secret meaning, that some of these 
fables are so absurd and idle in their narration 
as to show and proclaim an allegory, even afar 
off. A fable that carries probability with it may 
be supposed invented for pleasure, or in imita- 
tion of history ; but those that could never be 
conceived or related in this way must surely 
have a different use. For example, what a 
monstrous fiction is this, that Jupiter should 
take Metis to wife, and as soon as he found her 
pregnant eat her up, whereby he also con- 
ceived, and out of his head brought forth 
Pallas armed. Certainly no mortal could, but 
for the sake of the moral it couches, invent 
such an absurd dream as this, so much out of 
the road of thought! 

But the argument of most weight with me 
is this, that many of these fables by no means 
appear to have been invented by the persons 
who relate and divulge them, whether Homer, 
Hesiod, or others; for if I were assured they 
first flowed from those later times and authors 
that transmit them to us, I should never expect 
anything singularly great or noble from such 
an origin. But whoever attentively considers 
the thing, will find that these fables are deliv- 
ered down and related by those writers, not as 
matters then first invented and proposed, but 


as things received and embraced in earlier ages. 
Besides, as they are differently related by 
writers nearly of the same ages, it is easily 
perceived that the relators drew from the com- 
mon stock of ancient tradition, and varied but 
in point of embellishment, which is their own. 
And this principally raises my esteem of these 
fables, which I receive not as the product of 
the age, or invention of the poets, but as sacred 
relics, gentle whispers, and the breath of 
better times, that from the traditions of more 
ancient nations came, at length, into the flutes 
and trumpets of the Greeks. But if any one 
shall, notwithstanding this, contend that alle- 
gories are always adventitious, or imposed up- 
on the ancient fables, and no way native or 
genuinely contained in them, we might here 
leave him undisturbed in that gravity of judg- 
ment he affects (though we cannot help 
accounting it somewhat dull and phlegmatic), 
and if it were worth the trouble, proceed to 
another kind of argument. 

Men have proposed to answer two different 
and contrary ends by the use of parable : for 
parables serve as well to instruct or illustrate 
as to wrap up and envelop, so that though, for 
the present, we drop the concealed use, and 
suppose the ancient fables to be vague, inde- 
terminate things, formed for amusement, still 
the other use must remain, and can never be 
given up. And every man of any learning, 
must readily allow that this method of instruct- 
ing is grave, sober, or exceedingly useful, and 
sometimes necessary in the sciences, as it opens 


an easy and familiar passage to the human un- 
derstanding, in all new discoveries that are 
abstruse, and out of the road of vulgar opinions.* 
Hence, in the first ages, when such inventions 
and conclusions of the human reason as are 
now trite and common were new and little 
known, all things abounded with fables, para- 
bles, similes, comparisons and illusions, which 
were not intended to conceal, but to inform 
and teach, while the minds of men continued 
rude and unpracticed in matters of subtility 
and speculation, or even impatient, and in a 
manner incapable of receiving such things as 
did not directly fall under and strike the senses. 
For as hieroglyphics were in use before writing, 
so were parables in use before arguments. 
And even to this day, if any man would let new 
light in upon the human understanding, and 
conquer prejudice, without raising contests, 
animosities, opposition, or disturbance, he 
must still go in the same path, and have 
recourse to the like method of allegory, meta- 
phor, and allusion. 

To conclude, the knowledge of the early ages 
was either great or happy; great, if they by 
design made this use of trope and figure ; hap- 
py if while they had other views, they afforded 
matter and occasion to such noble contempla- 
tions. Let either be the case, our pains, per- 
haps, will not be misemployed, whether we 
illustrate antiquity or things themselves. 

The like, indeed, has been attempted by 
others; but to speak ingenuously, their great 
and voluminous labors have almost destroyed 


the energy, the efficacy, and grace of the thing, 
while being unskilled in nature, and their 
learning no more than that of commonplace, 
they have applied the sense of the parables to 
certain general and vulgar matters, without 
reaching to their real purport, genuine inter- 
pretation, and full depth. For myself, there- 
fore, I expect to appear new in these common 
things, because, leaving untouched such as are 
sufficiently plain and open, I shall drive only 
at those that are either deep or rich. 




The poets relate that Apollo, falling in love 
with Cassandra, was still deluded and put off 
by her, yet fed with hopes, till she had got 
from him the gift of prophecy; and having 
now obtained her end, she flatly rejected his 
suit. Apollo, unable to recall his rash gift, 
yet enraged to be outwitted by a girl, annexed 
this penalty to it, that though she should 
always prophecy true, she should never be 
believed; whence her divinations were always 
slighted, even when she again and again pre- 
dicted the ruin of her country. 

Explanation. — This fable seems invented to 
express the insignificance of unseasonable ad- 
vice. For they who are conceited, stubborn, 
or intractable, and listen not to the instruc- 
tions of Apollo, the god of harmony so as to 


learn and observe the modulations and meas- 
ures of affairs, the sharps and flats of discourse, 
the difference between judicious and vulgar 
ears, and the proper times of speech and 
silence, let them be ever so intelligent, and 
ever so frank of their advice or their counsels 
ever so good and just, yet all their endeavors, 
either of persuasion or force, are of little sig- 
nificance, and rather hasten the ruin of those 
they advise. But, at last, when the calami- 
tous event has made the sufferers feel the effect 
of their neglect they too late reverence their 
advisers, as deep, foreseeing, and faithful 

Of this we have a remarkable instance in 
Cato of Utica, who discovered afar off, and 
long foretold the approaching ruin of his coun- 
try, both in the first conspiracy, and as it was 
prosecuted in the civil war between Caesar and 
Pompey, yet did no good the while, but rather 
hurt the commonwealth, and hurried on its 
destruction, which Cicero wisely observed in 
these words: "Cato, indeed, judges excellently, 
but prejudices the state ; for he speaks as in the 
commonwealth of Plato, and not as in the dregs 
of Romulus. 



The fable runs, that Juno, enraged at Jupi- 
ter's bringing forth Pallas without her assist- 
ance, incessantly solicited all the gods and 
goddesses, that she might produce without 


Jupiter; and having by violence and importun- 
ity obtained the grant, she struck the earth, 
and thence immediately sprung up Typhon, a 
huge and dreadful monster, whom she com- 
mitted to the nursing of a serpent. As soon as 
he was grown up, this monster waged war on 
Jupiter, and taking him prisoner in the battle, 
carried him away on his shoulders, into a re- 
mote and obscure quarter: and there cutting 
out the sinews of his hands and feet, he bore 
them off leaving Jupiter behind miserably 
maimed and mangled. 

But Mercury afterward stole these sinews 
from Typhon, and restored them to Jupiter. 
Hence, recovering his strength, Jupiter again 
pursues the monster; first wounds him with a 
stroke of his thunder, when serpents arose 
from the blood of the wound; and now the 
monster being dismayed, and taking to flight, 
Jupiter next darted Mount ^Etna upon him, 
and crushed him with the weight. 

Explanation. — This fable seems designed 
to express the various fates of kings, and the 
turns that rebellions sometimes take in king- 
doms. For princes may be justly esteemed 
married to their states, as Jupiter to Juno; 
but it sometimes happens, that being depraved 
by long wielding of the sceptre, and growing 
tyrannical, they would engross all to them- 
selves, and slighting the counsel of their sen- 
ators and nobles, conceive by themselves; that 
is, govern according to their own arbitrary 
will and pleasure. This inflames the people, 


and makes them endeavor to create and set 
up some head of their own. Such designs are 
generally set on foot by the secret motion and 
instigation of the peers and nobles, under 
whose connivance the common sort are pre- 
pared for rising ; whence proceeds a swell in 
the state, which is appositely denoted by the 
nursing of Typhon. This growing posture of 
affairs is fed by the natural depravity, and 
malignant dispositions of the vulgar, which to 
kings is an envenomed serpent. And now the 
disaffected, uniting their force, at length 
break out into open rebellion, which, produc- 
ing infinite mischiefs, both to prince and peo- 
ple, is represented by the horrid and multiplied 
deformity of Typhon, with his hundred heads, 
denoting the divided powers; his flaming 
mouths, denoting fire and devastation; his 
girdle of snakes, denoting sieges and destruc- 
tion; his iron hands, slaughter and cruelty; 
his eagle's talons, rapine, and plunder; his 
plumed body, perpetual rumors, contradictory 
accounts, etc. And sometimes these rebellions 
grow so high, that kings are obliged, as if car- 
ried on the backs of the rebels, to quit the 
throne, and retire to some remote and obscure 
part of their dominions, with the loss of their 
sinews, both of money and majesty. 

But if now they prudently bear this reverse 
of fortune, they may, in a short time, by the 
assistance of Mercury, recover their sinews 
again; that is, by becoming moderate and 
affable ; reconciling the minds and affections of 
the people to them, by gracious speeches and 


prudent proclamations, which will win over 
the subjects cheerfully to afford new aids and 
supplies, and add fresh vigor to authority. 
But prudent and wary princes here seldom in- 
cline to try fortune by a war, yet do their 
utmost, by some grand exploit, to crush the 
reputation of the rebels: and if the attempt 
succeeds, the rebels, conscious of the wound 
received, and distrustful of their cause, first 
betake themselves to broken and empty 
threats, like the hissings of serpents; and 
next, when matters are grown desperate, to 
flight. And now, when they thus begin to 
shrink, it is safe and seasonable for kings to 
pursue them with their forces, and the whole 
strength of the kingdom thus effectually 
quashing and suppressing them, as it were by 
the weight of a mountain. 



It is related that the Cyclops, for their sav- 
ageness and cruelty, were by Jupiter first 
thrown into Tartarus, and there condemned to 
perpetual imprisonment: but that afterward, 
Tellus persuaded Jupiter it would be for his 
service to release them, and employ them in 
forging thunderbolts. This he accordingly 
did; and they, with unwearied pains and dil- 
igence, hammered out his bolts, and other in- 
struments of terror, with a frightful and con- 
tinual din of the anvil. 


It happened long after, that Jupiter was 
displeased with ^Esculapius, the son. of 
Apollo, for having, by the art of medicine, re- 
stored a dead man to life; but concealing his 
indignation, because the action in itself was 
pious and illustrious, he secretly incensed the 
Cyclops against him, who, without remorse, 
presently slew him with their thunderbolts; in 
revenge whereof, Apollo, with Jupiter's con- 
nivance, shot all them dead with his arrows. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to point at 
the behavior of princes, who, having cruel, 
bloody, and oppressive ministers, first punish 
and displace them; but afterward, by the ad- 
vice of Tellus, that is, some earthly-minded 
and ignoble person, employ them again, to 
serve a turn, when there is occasion for cruelty 
in execution, or severity in exaction ; but these 
ministers being base in their nature, whet by 
their former disgrace, and well aware of what 
is expected from them, use double diligence in 
their office ; till, proceeding unwarily, and over 
eager to gain favor they sometimes, from the 
private nods, and ambiguous orders of their 
prince, performed some odious or execrable 
action: when princes, to decline the envy 
themselves, and knowing they shall never want 
such tools at their back, drop them, and give 
them up to the friends and followers of the 
injured person ; thus exposing them, as sacri- 
fices to revenge and popular odium; whence 
with great applause, acclamations, and good 
wishes to the prince, these miscreants at last 
meet with their desert. 



Narcissus is said to have been extremely 
beautiful and comely, but intolerably proud 
and disdainful; so that, pleased with himself, 
and scorning the world, he led a solitary life 
in the woods; hunting only with a few follow- 
ers, who were his professed admirers, among 
whom the nymph Echo was his constant atten- 
dant. In this method of life it was once his fate 
to approach a clear fountain, where he laid 
himself down to rest, in the noonday heat; 
when, beholding his image in the water, he fell 
into such a rapture and admiration of himself, 
that he could by no means be got away, but 
remained continually fixed and gazing, till at 
length he was turned into a flower, of his own 
name, which appears early in the spring, and 
is consecrated to the infernal deities, Pluto, 
Proserpine, and the Furies. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to paint 
the behavior and fortune of those who, for 
their beauty, or other endowments, wherewith 
nature (without any industry of their own) has 
graced and adorned them, are extravagantly 
fond of themselves : for men of such a disposi- 
tion generally affect retirement, and absence 
from public affairs; as a life of business must 
necessarily subject them to many neglects and 
contempts, which might disturb and ruffle 
their minds; whence such persons commonly 
lead a solitary, private, and shadowy life ; see 
little company, and those only such as highly 

17 Bacon 


admire and reverence them ; or, like an echo, 
assent to all they say. 

And they who are depraved, and rendered 
still fonder of themselves by this custom, grow 
strangely indolent, inactive, and perfectly 
stupid. The Narcissus, a spring flower, is an 
elegant emblem of this temper, which at first 
flourishes, and is talked of, but when ripe, 
frustrates the expectation conceived of it. 

And that this flower should be sacred to the 
infernal powers, carries out the allusion still 
further; because men of this humor are per- 
fectly useless in all respects: for whatever 
yields no fruit, but passes, and is no more, like 
the way of a ship in the sea, was by the 
ancients consecrated to the infernal shades and 



The only solemn oath, by which the gods 
irrevocably obliged themselves, is a well- 
known thing, and makes a part of many 
ancient fables. To this oath they did not 
invoke any celestial divinity, or divine attri- 
bute, but only called to witness the river Styx ; 
which, with many meanders, surrounds the 
infernal court of Dis. For this form alone, and 
none but this, was held inviolable and oblig- 
atory : and the punishment of falsifying it, was 
that dreaded one of being excluded, for a cer- 
tain number of years, the table of the gods. 


Explanation. — This fable seems invented 
to show the nature of the compacts and con- 
federacies of princes; which, though ever so 
solemnly and religiously sworn to, prove but 
little the more binding for it: so that oaths in 
this case seem used, rather for decorum, repu- 
tation, and ceremony, than for fidelity, secur- 
ity, and effectuating. And though these oaths 
were strengthened with the bonds of affinity, 
which are the links and ties of nature, and 
again, by mutual services and good offices, yet 
we see all this will generally give way to 
ambition, convenience, and the thirst of 
power: the rather, because it is easy for 
princes, under various specious pretences to 
defend, disguise, and conceal their ambitious 
desires, and insincerity; having no judge to 
call them to account. There is, however, one 
true and proper confirmation of their faith, 
though no celestial divinity; but that great 
divinity of princes, Necessity; or, the danger 
of the state ; and the securing of advantage. 

This necessity is elegantly represented by 
Styx, the fatal river, that can never be crossed 
back. And this deity it was, which Iphicrates 
the Athenian invoked in making a league: and 
because he roundly and openly avows what 
most others studiously conceal, it may be 
proper to give his own words. Observing 
that the Lacedaemonians were inventing and 
proposing a variety of securities, sanctions, and 
bonds of alliance, he interrupted them thus: 
"There may indeed, my friends, be one bond 
and means of security between us; and that is, 


for you to demonstrate you have delivered into 
our hands, such things as that if you had the 
greatest desire to hurt us, you could not be 
able. " Therefore, if the power of offending 
be taken away, or if by a breach of compact 
there be danger of destruction or diminution 
to the state or tribute, then it is that covenants 
will be ratified, and confirmed, as it were by 
the Stygian oath, while there remains an 
impending danger of being prohibited and ex- 
cluded the banquet of the gods; by which ex- 
pression the ancients denoted the rights and 
prerogatives, the affluence, and the felicities, 
of empire and dominion. 



The ancients have, with great exactness, de- 
lineated universal nature under the person of 
Pan. They leave his origin doubtful; some 
asserting him the son of Mercury, and others 
the common offspring of all Penelope's suitors. 
The latter supposition doubtless occasioned 
some later rivals to entitle this ancient fable 
Penelope ; a thing frequently practiced when 
the earlier relations are applied to more mod- 
ern characters and persons, though sometimes 
with great absurdity and ignorance, as in the 
present case; for Pan was one of the most 
ancient gods, and long before the time of 
Ulysses; besides, Penelope was venerated by 
antiquity for her matronal chastity. A third 
sort will have him the issue of Jupiter and 


Hybris, that is, Reproach. But whatever his 
origin was, the Destinies are allowed his 

He is described by antiquity, with pyramidal 
horns reaching up to heaven, a rough and 
shaggy body, a very long beard, of a biform 
figure, human above, half brute below, ending 
in goat's feet. His arms, or ensigns of power, 
are a pipe in his left hand, composed of seven 
reeds; in his right a crook; and he wore for his 
mantle a leopard's skin. 

His attributes and titles were the god of 
hunters, shepherds, and all the rural inhabi- 
tants; president of the mountains; and, after 
Mercury, the next messenger of the gods. He 
was also held the leader and ruler of the 
Nymphs, who continually danced and frisked 
about him, attended with the Satyrs and their 
elders, the Sileni. He had also the power of 
striking terrors, especially such as were vain 
and superstitious; whence they came to be 
called panic terrors. 

Few actions are recorded of him, only a 
principal one is, that he challenged Cupid at 
wrestling, and was worsted. He also caught 
the giant Typhon in a net, and held him fast. 
They relate further of him, that when Ceres, 
growing disconsolate for the rape of Proserpine 
hid herself, and all the gods took the utmost 
pains to find her, by going out different ways 
for that purpose, Pan only had the good fortune 
to meet her, as he was hunting, and discovered 
her to the rest. He likewise had the assurance 
to rival Apollo in music, and in the judgment 


of Midas was preferred; but the judge had, 
though with great privacy and secrecy, a pair 
of asses' ears fastened on him for his sentence. 

There is very little said of his amours ; which 
may seem strange among such a multitude of 
gods, so profusely amorous. He is only re- 
ported to have been very fond of Echo, who 
was also esteemed his wife ; and one nymph 
more, called Syrinx, with the love of whom 
Cupid inflamed him for his insolent challenge; 
so he is reported once to have solicited the moon 
to accompany him apart into the deep woods. 

Lastly, Pan had no descendant, which also is 
a wonder, when the male gods were so ex- 
tremely prolific; only he was the reputed 
father of a servant-girl called Iambe, who used 
to divert strangers with her ridiculous prattling 

This fable is perhaps the noblest of all 
antiquity, and pregnant with the mysteries and 
secrets of nature. Pan, as the name imports, 
represents the universe, about whose origin 
there are two opinions, viz., that it either 
sprung from Mercury, that is, the divine word, 
according to the Scriptures and philosophical 
divines, or from the confused seeds of things. 
For they who, allow only one beginning of all 
things, either ascribe it to God ; or, if they 
suppose a material beginning, acknowledge it 
to be various in its powers; so that the whole 
dispute comes to these points; viz., either that 
nature proceeds from Mercury, or from Pene- 
lope and all her suitors. 

The third origin of Pan seems borrowed by 


the Greeks from the Hebrew mysteries, either 
by means of the Egyptians or otherwise; for it 
relates to the state of the world, not in its first 
creation, but as made subject to death and cor- 
ruption after the fall ; and in this state it was 
and remains, the offspring of God and Sin, or 
Jupiter and Reproach. And, therefore, these 
three several accounts of Pan's birth may seem 
true, if duly distinguished in respect of things 
and times. For this Pan, or the universal 
nature of things, which we view and contem- 
plate, had its origin from the divine Word and 
confused matter, first created by God himself, 
with the subsequent introduction of sin and 
consequently corruption. 

The Destinies, or the natures and fates of 
things, are justly made Pan's sisters, as the 
chain of natural causes links together the rise, 
duration, and corruption ; the exaltation, degen- 
eration, and working; the processes, the effects, 
and changes, of all that can any way happen 
to things. 

Horns are given him, broad at the roots, but 
narrow and sharp at the top, because the 
nature of all things seems pyramidal ; for indi- 
viduals are infinite, but being collected into a 
variety of species, they rise up into kinds, and 
these again ascend, and are contracted into 
generals, till at length nature may seem col- 
lected to a point. And no wonder if Pan's 
horns reach to the heavens, since the sublim- 
ities of nature, or abstract ideas, reach in a 
manner to things divine; for there is a short 


and ready passage from metaphysics to natural 

Pan's body, or the. body of nature, is, with 
great propriety and elegance, painted shaggy 
and hairy, as representing the rays of things; 
for rays are as the hair, or fleece of nature, 
and more or less worn by all bodies. This evi- 
dently appears in vision, and in all effects or 
operations at a distance: for whatever operates 
thus may be properly said to emit rays. But 
particularly the beard of Pan is exceeding long, 
because the rays of the celestial bodies pene- 
trate, and act to a prodigious distance, and 
have descended into the interior of the earth 
so far as to change its surface ; and the sun 
himself, when clouded on its upper part, ap- 
pears to the eye bearded. 

Again, the body of nature is justly described 
biform, because of the difference between its 
superior and inferior parts, as the former, for 
their beauty, regularity of motion, and in- 
fluence over the earth, may be properly rep- 
resented by the human figure, and the latter, 
because of their disorder, irregularity, and 
subjection to the celestial bodies, are by the 
brutal. This biform figure also represents the 
participation of one species with another; for 
there appear to be no simple natures ; but all 
participate or consist of two: thus man has 
somewhat of the brute, the brute somewhat of 
the plant, the plant somewhat of the mineral ; 
so that all natural bodies have really two 
faces, or consist of a superior and an inferior 


There lies a curious allegory in the making 
of Pan goat-footed, on account of the motion 
of ascent which the terrestrial bodies have 
toward the air and heavens; for the goat is a 
clambering creature, that delights in climbing 
up rocks and precipices ; and in the same man- 
ner the matters destined to this lower globe 
strongly affect to rise upward, as appears from 
the clouds and meteors. 

Pan's arms, or the ensigns he bears in his 
hands, are of two kinds — the one an emblem of 
harmony, the other of empire. His pipe, com- 
posed of seven reeds, plainly denotes the con- 
sent and harmony, or the concords and dis- 
cords of things, produced by the motion of the 
seven planets. His crook also contains a fine 
representation of the ways of nature, which 
are partly straight and partly crooked; thus the 
staff, having an extraordinary bend toward 
the top, denotes that the works of Divine 
Providence are generally brought about by 
remote means, or in a circuit, as if somewhat 
else were intended rather than the effect pro- 
duced, as in the sending of Joseph into Egypt, 
etc. So likewise in human government, they 
who sit at the helm manage and wind the 
people more successfully by pretext and oblique 
courses, than they could by such as are direct 
and straight; so that, in effect, all scepters are 
crooked at the top. 

Pan's mantle, or clothing, is with great in- 
genuity made of a leopard's skin, because of 
the spots it has, for in like manner the heavens 
are sprinkled with stars, the sea with islands, 

18 Bacon 


the earth with flowers, and almost each parti- 
cular thing is variegated or wears a mottled 

The office of Pan could not be more lively 
expressed than by making him the god of hun- 
ters; for every natural action, every motion 
and process, is no other than a chase ; thus arts 
and sciences hunt out their works, and human 
schemes and counsels their several ends ; and 
all living creatures either hunt out their ail- 
ment, pursue their prey, or seek their pleas- 
ures, and this in a skilful and sagacious man- 
ner. He is also styled the god of the rural 
inhabitants, because men in this situation live 
more according to nature than they do in cities 
and courts, where nature is so corrupted with 
effeminate arts, that the saying of the poet 
may be verified — 

— pars minima est ipsa puella sui. 

He is likewise particularly styled President of 
the Mountains, because in mountains and lofty 
places the nature of things lies more open and 
exposed to the eye and the understanding. 

In his being called the messenger of the gods, 
next after Mercury, lies a divine allegory, as 
next after the Word of God, the image of the 
world is the herald of the Divine power and 
wisdom, according to the expression of the 
Psalmist, "the heavens declare the glory of 
God, and the firmament showeth his handi- 
work. ' ' 

Pan is delighted with the company of the 
Nymphs; that is, the souls of all living creat- 


ures are the delight of the world; and he is 
properly called their governor, because each of 
them follows its own nature as a leader, and all 
dance about their own respective rings, with 
infinite variety and never-ceasing motion. 
And with these continually join the Satyrs and 
Sileni ; that is youth and age ; for all things 
have a kind of young, cheerful, and dancing 
time ; and again their time of slowness, totter- 
ing, and creeping. And whoever, in a true 
light, considers the motions and endeavors of 
both these ages, like another Democritus, will 
perhaps find them as odd and strange as the 
gesticulations and antic motions of the Satyrs 
and Sileni. 

The power he had of striking terrors contains 
a very sensible doctrine; for nature has im- 
planted fear in all living creatures; as well to 
keep them from risking their lives as to guard 
against injuries and violence; and yet this 
nature or passion keeps not its bounds, but with 
just and profitable fears always mixes such as 
are vain and senseless; so that all things, if 
we could see their insides, would appear full 
of panic terrors. Thus mankind, particularly 
the vulgar, labor under a high degree of super- 
stitions, which is nothing more than a panic 
dread that principally reigns in unsettled and 
troublesome times. 

The presumption of Pan in challenging 
Cupid to the conflict, denotes that matter has 
an appetite and tendency to a dissolution of the 
world, and falling back to its first chaos again, 
unless this depravity and inclination were re 


strained and subdued by a more powerful con- 
cord and agreement of things, properly ex- 
pressed by Love or Cupid; it is, therefore, well 
for mankind, and the state of all things, that 
Pan was thrown and conquered in the struggle. 

His catching and detaining Typhon in the 
net receive a similar explanation; for what- 
ever vast and unusual swells, which the word 
Typhon signifies, may sometimes be raised in 
nature, as in the sea, the clouds, the earth, or 
the like, yet nature catches, entangles, and 
holds all such outrages and insurrections in her 
inextricable net, wove as it were of adamant. 

That part of the fable which attributes the 
discovery of lost Ceres to Pan while he was 
hunting — a happiness denied the other gods, 
though they diligently and expressly sought 
her — contains an exceedingly just and prudent 
admonition ; viz. , that we are not to expect the 
discovery of things useful in common life, as 
that of corn, denoted by Ceres, from abstract 
philosophies, as if these were the gods of the 
first order — no, not though we used our utmost 
endeavors this way — but only from Pan, that 
is, a sagacious experience and general knowl- 
edge of nature, which is often found, even by 
accident, to stumble upon such discoveries 
while the pursuit was directed another way. 

The event of his contending with Apollo in 
music affords us a useful instruction, tnat may 
help to humble the human reason and judg- 
ment, which is too apt to boast and glory in 
itself. There seem to be two kinds of har-' 
mony — the one of Divine Providence, the other 


of human reason; but the government of the 
world, the administration of its affairs, and the 
more secret Divine judgments, sound harsh 
and dissonant to human ears or human judg- 
ment; and though this ignorance be justly 
rewarded with asses' ears, yet they are put on 
and worn, not openly, but with great secrecy; 
nor is the deformity of the things seen or ob- 
served by the vulgar 

We must not find it strange if no amours 
are related of Pan besides his marriage with 
Echo; for nature enjoys itself, and in itself 
all other things. He that loves desires enjoy- 
ment, but in profusion there is no room for 
desire; and therefore Pan, remaining content 
with himself, has no passion unless it be for 
discourse, which is well shadowed out by Echo 
or talk, or when it is more accurate, by Syrinx 
or writing. But Echo makes a most excellent 
wife for Pan, as being no other than genuine 
philosophy, which faithfully repeats his words, 
or only transcribes exactly as nature dictates; 
thus representing the true image and reflec- 
tion of the world without adding a tittle. 

It tends also to the support and perfection 
of Pan or nature to be without offspring ; for 
the world generates in its parts, and not in the 
way of a whole, as wanting a body external to 
itself wherewith to generate. 

Lastly, for the supposed or spurious prattl- 
ing daughter of Pan, it is an excellent addition 
to the fable, and aptly represents the talkative 
philosophies that have at all times been stir- 
ring, and filled the world with idle tales, being 


ever barren, empty, and servile, though some- 
times indeed diverting and entertaining, and 
sometimes again troublesome and importunate. 



44 The fable relates, that Perseus was dis- 
patched from the east by Pallas, to cut off 
Medusa's head, who had commmitted great 
ravage upon the people of the west; for this 
Medusa was so dire a monster as to turn into 
stone all those who but looked upon her. She 
was a Gorgon, and the only mortal one of the 
three, the other two being invulnerable. 
Perseus, therefore, preparing himself for this 
grand enterprise, had presents made him 
from three of the gods: Mercury gave him 
wings for his heels; Pluto, a helmet; and 
Pallas, a shield and a mirror. But though he 
was now so well equipped, he posted not 
directly to Medusa, but first turned aside to 
the Greae,who were half-sisters to the Gorgons. 

These Greae were grayheaded, and like old 
women from their birth, having among them 
all three but one eye, and one tooth, which, as 
they had occasion to go out, they each wore 
by turns, and laid them down again upon 
coming back. This eye and this tooth they 
lent to Perseus, who now judging himself 
sufficently furnished, he, without futher stop, 
flies swiftly away to Medusa, and finds her 
asleep. But not venturing his eyes, for fear 


she should awake, he turned his head aside, 
and viewed her in Pallas' mirror; and thus 
directing his stroke, cut off her head; when 
immediately, from the gushing blood, there 
darted Pegasus, winged. Perseus now in- 
serted Medusa's head into Pallas' shield, which 
thence retained the faculty of astonishing and 
benumbing all who looked on it. " 

This fable seems invented to show the pru- 
dent method of choosing, undertaking, and 
conducting a war ; and, accordingly, lays down 
three useful precepts about it, as if they were 
the precepts of Pallas. 

(i) The first is, that no prince should be 
over-solicitous to subdue a neighboring nation ; 
for the method of enlarging an empire is very 
different from that of increasing an estate. 
Regard is justly had to contiguity, or ad- 
jacency, in private lands and possessions; but 
in the extending of empire, the occasion, the 
facility and advantage of a war are to be re- 
garded instead of vicinity. It is certain that 
the Romans, at the time they stretched but 
little beyond Liguria to the west, had by their 
arms subdued the provinces as far as Mount 
Taurus to the east. And thus Perseus readily 
undertook a very long expedition even from 
the east to the extremities of the west. 

The second precept is, that the cause of the 
war be just and honorable; for this adds alac- 
rity both to the soldiers and people who find 
the supplies; procures aids, alliances, and 
numerous other conveniences. Now there is 
no cause of war more just and laudable than 


the suppressing of tyranny, by which a people 
are dispirited, benumbed, or left without life 
and vigor, as at the sight of Medusa. 

Lastly, it is prudently added, that as there 
were three of the Gorgons, who represent war, 
Perseus singled her out for his expedition that 
was mortal; which affords this precept, that 
such kinds of war should be chosen as may be 
brought to a conclusion, with pursuing vast 
and infinite hopes. 

Again, Perseus' setting-out is extremely well 
adapted to his undertaking, and in a manner 
commands success; he received dispatch from 
Mercury, secrecy from Pluto, and foresight 
from Pallas. It also contains an excellent 
allegory, that the wings given him by Mer- 
cury were for his heels, not for his shoulders; 
because expedition is not so much required in 
the first preparations for war, as in the subse- 
quent matters, that administer to the first; for 
there is no error more frequent in war, than, 
after brisk preparations, to halt for subsidiary 
forces and effective supplies. 

The allegory of Pluto's helmet, rendering 
men invisible and secret, is sufficiently evident 
of itself; but the mystery of the shield and 
the mirror lies deeper, and denotes that not 
only a prudent caution must be had to defend, 
like the shield, but also such an address and 
penetration as may discover the strength, the 
motions, the counsels, and designs of the 
enemy ; like the mirror of Pallas. 

But though Perseus may now seem ex- 
tremely well prepared, there still remains the 


most important thing of all; before he enters 
upon the war, he must of necessity consult 
the Greae. These Greae are treasons; half, 
but degenerate sisters of the Gorgons, who are 
representatives of war: for wars are generous 
and noble ; but treasons base and vile. The 
Greae are elegantly described as hoary-headed, 
and like old women from their birth; on 
account of the perpetual cares, fears, and 
trepidations attending traitors. Their force, 
also, before it breaks out into open revolt, con- 
sists either in an eye or a tooth; for all fac- 
tion, alienated from a state, is both watchful 
and biting; and this eye and tooth are, as it 
were, common to all disaffected; because 
whatever they learn and know is transmitted 
from one to another, as by the hands of fac- 
tion. And for the tooth, they all bite with the 
same; and clamor with one throat; so that 
each of them singly expresses the multitude. 

These Greae, therefore, must be prevailed 
upon by Perseus to lend him their eye and 
their tooth ; the eye to give him indications, 
and make discoveries; the tooth for sowing 
rumors, raising envy, and stirring up the 
minds of the people. And when all these 
things are thus disposed and prepared, then 
follows the action of the war. 

He finds Medusa asleep; for whoever under- 
takes a war with prudence, generally falls 
upon the enemy unprepared, and nearly in a 
state of security; and here is the occasion for 
Pallas' mirror: for it is common enough, 
before the danger presents itself, to see exactly 

18 Bacon 


into the state and posture of the enemy; but 
the principal use of the glass is, in the very 
instant of danger, to discover the manner 
thereof, and prevent consternation; which is 
the thing intended by Perseus' turning his 
head aside, and viewing the enemy in the 

Two effects here follow the conquest: i. 
The darting forth of Pegasus; which evi- 
dently denotes fame, that flies abroad, pro- 
claiming the victory far and near. 2. The 
bearing of Medusa's head in the shield, which 
is the greatest possible defense and safeguard; 
for one grand and memorable enterprise, 
happily accomplished, bridles all the motions 
and attempts of the enemy, stupefies disaffec- 
tion, and quells commotions. 



The goddess Luna is said to have fallen in 
love with the shepherd Endymion, and to 
have carried on her amours with him in a new 
and singular manner; it being her custom, 
while he lay reposing in his native cave, under 
Mount Latmus, to descend frequently from 
her sphere, enjoy his company while he slept, 
and then go up to heaven again. And all this 
while, Endymion's fortune was no way preju- 
diced by his inactive and sleepy life, the god- 
dess causing his flocks to thrive, and grow so 
exceeding numerous, that none of the other 
shepherds could compare with him. 


Explanation. — This fable seems to describe 
the tempers and dispositions of princes, who, 
being thoughtful and suspicious, do not easily 
admit to their privacies such men as are pry- 
ing, curious, and vigilant, or, as it were, sleep- 
less; but, rather, such as are of an easy, oblig- 
ing nature, and indulge them in their pleas- 
ures, without seeking anything further; but 
seeming ignorant, insensible, or, as it were, 
lulled asleep before them. Princes usually 
treat such persons familiarly; and, quitting 
their throne like Luna, think they may with 
safety unbosom to them. This temper was 
very remarkable in Tiberius, a prince exceed- 
ing difficult to please, and who had no favorites 
but those that perfectly understood his way, 
and, at the same time, obstinately dissembled 
their knowledge, almost to a degree of stu- 

The cave is not improperly mentioned in 
the fable; it being a common thing for the 
favorites of a prince to have their pleasant 
retreats, whither to invite him, by way of 
relaxation, though without prejudice to their 
own fortunes; these favorites usually making 
a good provision for themselves. 

For though their prince should not, perhaps, 
promote them to dignities, yet, out of real 
affection, and not only for convenience, they 
generally feel the enriching influence of his 




The poets relate, that the giants, produced 
from the earth, made war upon Jupiter and 
the other gods, but were repulsed and con- 
quered by thunder; whereat the earth, pro- 
voked, brought forth Fame, the youngest sister 
of the giants, in revenge for the death of her 

Explanation. — The meaning of the fable 
seems to be this: the earth denotes the nature 
of the vulgar, who are always swelling, and 
rising against their rulers, and endeavoring 
at changes. This disposition, getting a fit 
opportunity, breeds rebels and traitors, who, 
with impetuous rage, threaten and contrive 
the overthrow and destruction of princes. 

And when brought under and subdued, the 
same vile and restless nature of the people, 
impatient of peace, produces rumors, detrac- 
tions, slanders, libels, etc., to blacken those in 
authority; so that rebellious actions and sedi- 
tious rumors, differ not in origin and stock, 
but only as it were in sex; treasons and 
rebellious being the brothers, and scandal or 
detraction the sister. 




The ancients afford us two examples for sup- 
pressing the impertinent curiosity of mankind, 
in diving into secrets and impudently longing 
and endeavoring to discover them. The one 
of these is in the person of Acteon, and the 
other in that of Pentheus. Acteon, undesign- 
edly chancing to see Diana naked, was turned 
into a stag, and torn to pieces byhis own hounds. 
And Pentheus, desiring to pry into the hidden 
mysteries of Bacchus' sacrifice, and climbing 
a tree for that purpose, was struck with a 
frenzy. This frenzy of Pentheus caused him 
to see things double, particularly the sun, and 
his own city Thebes, so that running home- 
ward, and immediately espying another 
Thebes, he runs toward that; and thus con- 
tinues incessantly tending first to the one, and 
then to the other, without coming at either. 

Explanation. — The first of these fables may 
relate to the secrets of princes, and the second 
to divine mysteries. For they who are not 
intimate with a prince, yet against his will 
have a knowledge of his secrets, inevitably 
incur his displeasure; and therefore, being 
aware that they are singled out, and all oppor- 
tunities watched against them, they lead the 
life of a stag, full of fears and suspicions. It 
likewise frequently happens that their 


servants and domestics accuse them and plot 
their overthrow, in order to procure favor 
with the prince; for whenever the king mani- 
fests his displeasure, the person it falls upon 
must expect his servants to betray him, and 
worry him down, as Acteon was worried by 
his own dogs. 

The punishment of Pentheus is of another 
kind ; for they who, unmindful of their mortal 
state, rashly aspire to divine mysteries, by 
climbing the heights of nature and philosophy, 
here represented by climbing a tree — their 
fate is perpetual inconstancy, perplexity, and 
instability of judgment. For as there is one 
light of nature, and another light that is 
divine, they see, as it were, two sons. And 
as the actions of life, and the determinations 
of the will, depend upon the understanding, 
they are distracted as much in opinion as in 
will ; and therefore judge very inconsistently, 
or contradictorily ; and see, as it were, Thebes 
double ; for Thebes being the refuge and habi- 
tation of Pentheus, here denotes the ends of 
actions; whence they know not what course 
to take, but remaining undetermined and unre- 
solved in their views and designs, they are 
merely driven about by every sudden gust 
and impulse of the mind. 



Introduction. — The fable of Orpheus, 
though trite and common, has never been well 


interpreted, and seems to hold out a picture 
of universal philosophy; for to this sense may 
be easily transferred what is said of his being 
a wonderful and perfectly divine person, 
skilled in all kinds of harmony, subduing and 
drawing all things after him by sweet and 
gentle methods and modulations. For the 
labors of Orpheus exceed the labors of Her- 
cules, both in power and dignity, as the works 
of knowledge exceed the works of strength. 
• Fable. — Orpheus having his beloved wife 
snatched from him by sudden death, resolved 
upon descending to the infernal regions, to 
try if, by the power of his harp, he could reob- 
tain her. And, in effect, he so appeased and 
soothed the infernal powers by the melody and 
sweetness of his harp and voice, that they 
indulged him the liberty of taking her back, 
on condition that she should follow him 
behind, and he not turn to look upon her till 
they came into open day; but he through the 
impatience of his care and affection, and think- 
ing himself almost past danger, at length 
looked behind him, whereby the condition was 
violated, and she again precipitated to Pluto's 
regions. From this time Orpheus grew pen- 
sive and sad, a hater of the sex, and went into 
solitude, where, by the same sweetness of his 
harp and voice, he first drew the wild beasts of 
all sorts about him; so that forgetting their 
natures, they were neither actuated by re- 
venge, cruelty, lust, hunger, or the desire of 
prey, but stood gazing about him, in a tame 
and gentle manner, listening attentively to his 


music. Nay, so great was the power and 
efficacy of his harmony, that it even caused the 
trees and stones to remove, and place them- 
selves in a regular manner about him. When 
he had for a time, and with great admiration, 
continued to do this, at length the Thracian 
women, raised by the instigation of Bacchus, 
first blew a deep and hoarse-sounding horn, 
in such an outrageous manner, that it quite 
drowned the music of Orpheus. And thus 
the power which, as the link of their society, 
held all things in order, being dissolved, dis- 
turbance reigned anew; each creature re- 
turned to its own nature, and pursued and 
preyed upon its fellow, as before. The rocks 
and woods also started back to their former 
places; 1 and even Orpheus himself was at last 
torn to pieces by these female furies, and 
his limbs scattered all over the desert. But, 
in sorrow and revenge for his death, the 
river Helicon, sacred to the Muses, hid its 
waters under ground, and rose again in other 

Explanation. — The fable receives this 
explanation. The music of Orpheus is of two 
kinds ; one that appeases the infernal powers, 
and the other that draws together the wild 
beasts and trees. The former properly relates 
to natural, and the latter to moral philosophy, 
or civil society. The reinstatement and restor- 
ation of corruptible things is the noblest work 
of natural philosophy; and, in a less degree, 
the preservation of bodies in their own state, 


or a prevention of their dissolution and corrup- 
tion. And if this be possible, it can certainly 
be effected no other way than by proper and 
exquisite attemperations of nature; as it were 
by the harmony and fine touching of the harp. 
But as this is a thing of exceeding great diffi- 
culty, the end is seldom obtained; and that, 
probably, for no reason more than a curious 
and unreasonable impatience and solicitude. 

And, therefore philosophy, being almost 
unequal to the task, has cause to grow sad, and 
hence betakes itself to human affairs, insinu- 
ating into men's minds the love of virtue, 
equity, and peace by means of eloquence and 
persuasion; thus forming men into societies; 
bringing them under laws and regulations; and 
making them forget their unbridled passions 
and affections, so long as they harken to pre- 
cepts and submit to discipline. And thus they 
soon after build themselves habitations, form 
cities, cultivate lands, plant orchards, gardens, 
etc. So that they may not improperly be said 
to remove and call the trees and stones 

And this regard to civil affairs is justly and 
regularly placed after diligent trial made for 
restoring the mortal body; the attempt being 
frustrated in the end — because the unavoidable 
necessity of death, thus evidently laid before 
mankind, animates them to seek a kind of 
eternity by works of perpetuity, character, and 

It is also prudently added, that Orpheus was 
afterward averse to women and wedlock, 


because the indulgence of a married state, and 
the natural affections which men have for their 
children, often prevent them from entering 
upon any grand, noble, or meritorious enter- 
prise for the public good; as thinking it suffi- 
cient to obtain immortality by their descend- 
ants, without endeavoring at great actions. 

And even the works of knowledge, though 
the most excellent among human things, have 
their periods; for after kingdoms and common- 
wealths have flourished for a time, disturb- 
ances, seditions, and wars, often arise, in the 
din whereof, first the laws are silent, and not 
heard; and then men return to their own 
depraved natures — whence cultivated lands and 
cities soon become desolate and waste. And if 
this disorder continues, learning and philosophy 
is infallibly torn to pieces; so that only some 
scattered fragments thereof can afterward be 
found up and down, in a few places, like planks 
after a shipwreck. And barbarous times suc- 
ceeding, the river Helicon dips underground; 
that is, letters are buried, till things having 
undergone their due course of changes, learn- 
ing rises again, and shows its head, though sel- 
dom in the same place, but in some other 




The poets relate, that Coelum was the most 
ancient of all the gods; that his parts of gen- 


eration were cut off by his son Saturn; that 
Saturn had a numerous offspring, but devoured 
all his sons as soon as they were born ; that 
Jupiter at length escaped the common fate; 
and when grown up, drove his father Saturn 
into Tartarus; usurped the kingdom; cut off 
his father's genitals, with the same knife where- 
with Saturn had dismembered Coelum, and, 
throwing them into the sea, thence sprung 

Before Jupiter was well established in his 
empire, two memorable wars were made upon 
him ; the first by the Titans, in subduing of 
whom, Sol, the only one of the Titans who 
favored Jupiter, performed him singular serv- 
ice; the second by the giants, who being 
destroyed and subdued by the thunder and 
arms of Jupiter, he now reigned secure. 

Explanation. — This fable appears to be an 
enigmatical account of the origin of all things, 
not greatly differing from the philosophy after- 
ward embraced by Democritus, who expressly 
asserts the eternity of matter, but denies the 
eternity of the world; thereby approaching to 
the truth of sacred writ, which makes chaos, or 
uninformed matter, to exist before the six 
days' works. 

The meaning of the fable seems to be this: 
Coelum denotes the concave space, or vaulted 
roof that incloses all matter, and Saturn the 
matter itself, which cuts off all power of gener- 
ation from his father; as one and the same 
quality of matter remains invariably in nature, 


without addition or diminution. But the agi- 
tations and struggling motions of matter, first 
produced certain imperfect and ill-joined com- 
position of things, as it were so many first rudi- 
ments, or essays of worlds ; till, in process of 
time, there arose a fabric capable of preserv- 
ing its form and structure. Whence the first 
age was shadowed out by the reign of Saturn; 
who, on account of the frequent dissolutions, 
and short durations of things, was said to 
devour his children. And the second age was 
denoted by the reign of Jupiter; who thrust, 
or drove those frequent and transitory changes 
into Tartarus — a place expressive of disorder. 
This place seems to be the middle space, 
between the lower heavens and the internal 
parts of the earth, wherein disorder, imperfec- 
tion, mutation, mortality, destruction, and cor- 
ruption are principally found. 

Venus was not born during the former gen- 
eration of things, under the reign of Saturn ; 
for while discord and jar had the upper hand 
of concord and uniformity in the matter of the 
universe, a change of the entire structure was 
necessary. And in this manner things were 
generated and destroyed, before Saturn was 
dismembered. But when this manner of gen- 
eration ceased, there immediately followed 
another, brought about by Venus, or a perfect 
and established harmony of things; whereby 
changes were wrought in the parts, while the 
universal fabric remained entire and undis- 
turbed. Saturn, however, is said to be thrust 
out and dethroned, not killed, and become 


extinct; because, agreeably to the opinion of 
Democritus, the world might relapse into its 
old confusion and disorder, which Lucretius 
hoped would not happen in his time. 

But now, when the world was compact, and 
held together by its own bulk and energy, yet 
there was no rest from the beginning; for first, 
there followed considerable motions and dis- 
turbances in the celestial regions, though so 
regulated and moderated by the power of the 
Sun, prevailing over the heavenly bodies, as 
to continue the world in its state. Afterward 
there followed the like in the lower parts, by 
inundations, storms, winds, general earth- 
quakes, etc., which, however, being subdued 
and kept under, there ensued a more peaceable 
and lasting harmony, and consent of things. 

It may be said of this fable, that it includes 
philosophy; and again, that philosophy includes 
the fable; for we know, by faith, that all these 
things are but the oracle of sense, long since 
ceased and decayed; but the matter and fabric 
of the world being justly attributed to a creator. 



Proteus, according to the poets was Nep- 
tune's herdsman; an old man, and a most 
extraordinary prophet, who understood things 
past and present, as well as future ; so that 
besides the business of divination, he was the 
revealer and interpreter of all intiquity, and 
secrets of every kind. He lived in a vast cave, 


where his custom was to tell over his herd of 
sea-calves at noon, and then to sleep. Who- 
ever consulted him, had no other way of obtain- 
ing an answer, but by binding him with man- 
acles and fetters ; when he, endeavoring to free 
himself, would change into all kinds of shapes 
and miraculous forms : as of fire, water, wild 
beasts, etc. ; till at length he resumed his own 
shape again. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to point at 
the secrets of nature, and the states of matter. 
For the person of Proteus denotes matter, the 
oldest of all things, after God himself; that 
resides, as in a cave, under the vast concavity 
of the heavens. He is represented as the serv- 
ant of Neptune, because the various operations 
and modifications of matter are principally 
wrought in a fluid state. The herd, or flock of 
Proteus, seems to be no other than the several 
kinds of animals, plants, and minerals, in 
which matter appears to diffuse and spend 
itself; so that after having formed these sev- 
eral species, and as it were finished its task, it 
seems to sleep and repose without otherwise 
attempting to produce any new ones. And 
this is the moral of Proteus' counting his herd, 
then going to sleep. 

This is said to be done at noon, not in the 
morning or evening; by which is meant the 
time best fitted and disposed for the produc- 
tion of species, from a matter duly prepared, 
and made ready beforehand, and now lying in 
a middle state, between its first rudiments and 


decline; which, we learn from sacred history, 
was the case at the time of the creation; when 
by the efficacy of the divine command, matter 
directly came together, without any transfor- 
mation of intermediate changes, which it 
affects; instantly obeyed the order, and ap- 
peared in the form of creatures. 

And thus far the fable reaches of Proteus, 
and his flock, at liberty and unrestrained. 
For the universe, with the common structures 
and fabrics of the creatures, is the face of mat- 
ter, not under constraint, or as the flock wrought 
upon and tortured by human means. But if 
any skilful minister of nature shall apply force 
to matter, and by design torture and vex it, in 
order to its annihilation, it, on the contrary, 
being brought under this necessity, changes 
and transforms itself into a strange variety of 
shapes and appearances; for nothing but the 
power of the Creator can annihilate, or truly 
destroy it; so that at length, running through 
the whole circle of transformations, and com- 
pleting its period, it in some degree restores 
itself, if the force be continued. And that 
method of binding, torturing, or detaining, will 
prove the most effectual and expeditious, which 
makes use of manacles and fetters; that is, 
lays hold and works upon matter in the extrem- 
est degrees. 

The addition in the fable that makes Proteus 
a prophet, who had the knowledge of things 
past, present, and future, excellently agrees 
with the nature of matter; as he who knows 
the properties, the changes, and the processes 


of matter, must of necessity understand the 
effects and sum of what it does, has done, or 
can do, though his knowledge extends not to 
all the parts and particulars thereof. 



The poets made Memnon the son of Aurora, 
and bring him to the Trojan war in beautiful 
armor, and flushed with popular praise ; where, 
thirsting after further glory, and rashly hurry- 
ing on to the greatest enterprises, he engages 
the bravest warrior of all the Greeks, Achilles, 
and falls by his hand in single combat. Jup- 
iter, in commiseration of his death, sent birds 
to grace his funeral, that perpetually chanted 
certain mournful and bewailing dirges. It is 
also reported, that the ways of the rising sun, 
striking his statue, used to give a lamenting 

Explanation. — This fable regards the un- 
fortunate end of those promising youths, 
who, like sons of the morning, elate with empty 
hopes and glittering outsides, attempt things 
beyond their strength; challenge the bravest 
heroes; provoke them to the combat; and 
proving unequal, die in their high attempts. 

The death of such youths seldom fails to 
meet with infinite pity; as no mortal calamity 
is more moving and afflicting than to see the 


flower of virtue cropped before its time. Nay, 
the prime of life enjoyed to the full, or even 
to a degree of envy, does not assuage or mod- 
erate the grief occasioned by the untimely 
death of such hopeful youths; but lamenta- 
tions and bewailings fly, like mournful birds, 
about their tombs, for a long while after; 
especially upon all fresh occasions, new com- 
motions, and the beginning of great actions, 
the passionate desire of them is renewed, as by 
the sun's morning rays. 



It is elegantly fabled by Tythonus, that being 
exceedingly beloved by Aurora, she petitioned 
Jupiter that he might prove immortal, thereby 
to secure herself the everlasting enjoyment of 
his company; but through female inadvertence 
she forgot to add, that he might never grow 
old ; so that, though he proved immortal, he 
became miserably worn and consumed with age, 
insomuch that Jupiter, out of pity, at length 
transformed him to a grasshopper. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to contain 
an ingenious description of pleasure; which at 
first, as it were in the morning of the day, is so 
welcome that men pray to have it everlasting, 
but forget that satiety and weariness of it will, 
like old age, overtake them, though they think 
not of it; so that at length, when their appetite 
for pleasurable actions is gone, their desires 

19 Bacon 


and affections often continue ; whence we com- 
monly find that aged persons delight them- 
selves with the discourse and remembrance of 
the things agreeable to them in their better 
days. This is very remarkable in men of a 
loose, and men of a military life; the former 
whereof are always talking over their amours, 
and the latter the exploits of their youth ; like 
grasshoppers, that show their vigor only by 
their chirping. 



The poet tells us that Jupiter, to carry on 
his love intrigues, assumed many different 
shapes; as of a bull, an eagle, a swan, a golden 
shower, etc. ; but when he attempted Juno, he 
turned himself into the most ignoble and ridic- 
ulous creature — even that of a wretched, wet, 
weather-beaten, affrighted, trembling, and half- 
starved cuckoo. 

Explanation. — This is a wise fable, and 
drawn from the very entrails of morality. 
The moral is, that men should not be conceited 
of themselves, and imagine that a discovery of 
their excellences will always render them 
acceptable ; for this can only succeed accord- 
ing to the nature and manners of the person 
they court, or solicit ; who, if he be a man not 
of the same gifts and endowments, but alto- 
gether of a haughty and contemptuous 
behavior, here represented by the person of 


Juno, they must entirely drop the character 
that carries the least show of worth, or grace- 
fulness ; if they proceed upon any other foot- 
ing, it is downright folly; nor is it sufficient to 
act the deformity of obsequiousness, unless 
they really change themselves, and become 
abject and contemptible in their persons. 



The particulars related by the poets of 
Cupid, or Love, no not properly agree to the 
same person; yet they differ only so far, that 
if the confusion of persons be rejected, the 
correspondence may hold. They say, that 
Love was the most ancient of all the gods, and 
existed before everything else, except Chaos, 
which is held coeval therewith. But for Chaos, 
the ancients never paid divine honors, nor gave 
the title of a god thereto. Love is represented 
absolutely without progenitor, excepting only 
that he is said to have proceeded from the egg 
of Nox ; but that himself begot the gods, and 
all things else, on Chaos. His attributes are 
four, vix. : i, perpetual infancy; 2, blindness; 
3, nakedness; and 4, archery. 

There was also another Cupid, or Love, the 
youngest son of the gods, born of Venus; and 
upon him the attributes of the elder are trans- 
ferred with some degree of correspondence. 

Explanation. — This fable points at, and 
enters, the cradle of nature. Love seems to 


be the appetite, or incentive, of the primitive 
matter; or, to speak more distinctly, the nat- 
ural motion, or moving principle, of the orig- 
inal corpuscles, or atoms; this being the most 
ancient and only power that made and wrought 
all things out of matter. It is absolutely with- 
out parent, that is, without cause ; for causes 
are as parents to effects; but this power or 
efficacy could have no natural cause; for, 
excepting God, nothing was before it: and 
therefore it could have no efficient in nature. 
And as nothing is more inward with nature, it 
can neither be a genius nor a form; and, 
therefore, whatever it is, it must be somewhat 
positive, though inexpressible. And if it were 
possible to conceive its modus and process, yet 
it could not be known from its cause, as being, 
next to God, the cause of causes, and itself 
without a cause. And perhaps we are not to 
hope that the modus of it should fall or be 
comprehended, under human inquiry. Whence 
it is properly feigned to be the egg of Nox, or 
laid in the dark. 

The divine philosopher declares, that "God 
has made everything beautiful in its season: 
and has given over the world to our disputes 
and inquiries: but that man cannot find out 
the work which God has wrought, from its 
beginning up to its end. " Thus the summary 
or collective law of nature, or the principle of 
love, impressed by God upon the original 
particles of all things, so as to make them 
attack each other and come together, by the 
repetition and multiplication whereof all the 


variety in the universe is produced, can scarce 
possibly find full admittance into the thoughts 
of men, though some faint notion may be had 
thereof. The Greek philosophy is subtile, and 
busied in discovering the material principles of 
things, but negligent and languid in discover- 
ing the principles of motion, in which the 
energy and efficacy of every operation consists. 
And here the Greek philosophers seem per- 
fectly blind and childish : for the opinion of the 
Peripatetics, as to the stimulus of matter, by 
privation, is little more than words, or rather 
sound than signification. And they who refer 
it to God, though they do well therein, yet 
they do it by a start, and not by proper degrees 
of assent ; for doubtless there is one summary, 
or capital law, in which nature meets, subordi- 
nate to God, viz., the law mentioned in the 
passage above quoted from Solomon; or the 
work which God has wrought from its begin- 
ning up to its end. 

Democritus, who further considered this sub- 
ject, having first supposed an atom, or cur- 
puscle, of some dimension or figure, attributed 
thereto an appetite, desire, or first motion 
simply, and another comparatively, imagining 
that all things properly tended to the center of 
the world; those containing more matter fall- 
ing faster to the center, and thereby remov- 
ing, and in the shock driving away, such as 
held less. But this is a slender conceit, and 
regards too few particulars; for neither the 
revolutions of the celestial bodies, nor the con- 
tractions and expansions of things, can be re- 


duced to this principle. And for the opinion 
of Epicurus, as to the declination and fortui- 
tous agitation of atoms, this only brings the 
matter back again to a trifle, and wraps it up 
in ignorance and night. 

Cupid is elegantly drawn a perpetual child ; 
for compounds are larger things, and have 
their periods of age; but the first seeds or 
atoms of bodies are small, and remain in a 
perpetual infant state. 

He is again justly represented naked; as all 
compounds may properly be said to be dressed 
and clothed, or to assume a personage; whence 
nothing remains truly naked, but the original 
particles of things. 

The blindness of Cupid, contains a keep 
allegory; for this same Cupid, Love, or appe- 
tite of the world, seems to have very little fore- 
sight, but directs his steps and motions con- 
formably to what he finds next him, as blind 
men do when they feel out their way ; which 
renders the divine and overruling Providence 
and foresight the more surprising ; as by a cer- 
tain steady law, it brings such a beautiful 
order and regularity of things out of what 
seems extremely casual, void of design, and, 
as it were, really blind. 

The last attribute of Cupid is archery, viz., 
a virtue or power operating at a distance ; for 
everything that operates at a distance, may 
seem, as it were, to dart, or shoot with arrows. 
And whoever allows of atoms and vacuity, 
necessarily supposes that the virtue of atoms 
operates at a distance ; for without this opera- 


tion, no motion could be excited, on account of 
the vacuum interposing, but all things would 
remain sluggish and unmoved. 

As to the other Cupid, he is properly said to 
be the youngest son of the gods, as his power 
could not take place before the formation of 
species, or particular bodies. The description 
given us of him transfers the allegory to mor- 
ality, though he still retains some resemblance 
with the ancient Cupid; for as Venus univer- 
sally excites the affection of association and 
the desire of procreation, her son Cupid applies 
the affection to individuals; so that the gen- 
eral disposition proceeds from Venus, but the 
more close sympathy from Cupid. The for- 
mer depends upon a near approximation of 
causes, but the latter upon deeper, more neces- 
sitating, and uncontrollable principles, as if 
they proceeded from the ancient Cupid, on 
whom all exquisite sympathies depend. 



Diomed acquired great glory and honor at 
the Trojan war, and was highly favored by 
Pallas, who encouraged and excited him by no 
means to spare Venus, if he should causally 
meet her in fight. He followed the advice 
with too much eagerness and intrepidity, and 
accordingly wounded that goddess in her hand. 
This presumptuous action remained unpunished 
for a time, and when the war was ended he 


returned with great glory and renown to his 
own country, where, finding himself embroiled 
with domestic affairs, he retired into Italy. 
Here also at first he was well received and 
nobly entertained by King Daunus, who, be- 
sides other gifts and honors, erected statues 
for him over all his dominions. But upon the 
first calamity that afflicted the people after the 
stranger's arrival, Daunus immediately re- 
flected that he entertained a devoted person in 
his palace, an enemy to the gods, and one who 
had sacrilegiously wounded a goddess with his 
sword, whom it was impious but to touch. To 
expiate, therefore, his country's guilt, he, 
without regard to the laws of hospitality, which 
were less regarded by him than the laws of 
religion, directly slew his guest, and com- 
manded his statues and all his honors to be 
razed and abolished. Nor was it safe for 
others to commiserate or bewail so cruel a des- 
tiny; but even his companions in arms, while 
they lamented the death of their leader, and 
filled all places with their complaints, were 
turned into a kind of swans, which are said, at 
the approach of their own death, to chant 
sweet melancholy dirges. 

Explanation. — This fable intimates an ex- 
traordinary and almost singular thing, for no 
hero besides Diomed is recorded to have 
wounded any of the gods. Doubtless we have 
here described the nature and fate of a man 
who professedly makes any divine worship or 
sect of religion, though in itself vain and light, 

Wounded that goddess in her hand." — Page 295. 

Bacon's Ess 


the only scope of his actions, and resolves to 
propagate it by fire and sword. For although 
the bloody dissensions and differences about 
religion were unknown to the ancients, yet so 
copious and diffusive was their knowledge, 
that what they knew not by experience they 
comprehended in thought and representation. 
Those, therefore, who endeavor to reform or 
establish any sect of religion, though vain, 
corrupt, and infamous (which is here denoted 
under the person of Venus), not by the force 
of reason, learning, sanctity of manners, the 
weight of arguments, and examples, but would 
spread or extirpate it by persecution, pains, 
penalties, tortures, fire, and sword, may per- 
haps, be instigated hereto by Pallas, that is, by 
certain rigid, prudential consideration, and a 
severity of judgment, by the vigor and efficacy 
whereof they see thoroughly into the fallacies 
and fictions of the delusions of this kind; and 
through aversion to depravity and a well-meant 
zeal, these men usually for a time acquire 
great fame and glory, and are by the vulgar, 
to whom no moderate measures can be accept- 
able, extolled and almost adored, as the only 
patrons and protectors of truth and religion, 
men of any other disposition seeming, in com- 
parison with these, to be lukewarm, mean- 
spirited, and cowardly. This fame and felic- 
ity, however, seldom endures to the end ; but 
all violence, unless it escapes the reverses and 
changes of things by untimely death, is com- 
monly unprosperous in the issue; and if a 
change of affairs happens, and that sect of 

20 Bacon 


religion which was persecuted and oppressed 
gains strength and rises again, then the zeal 
and warm endeavors of this sort of men are 
condemned, their very name becomes odious, 
and all their honors terminate in disgrace. 

As to the point that Diomed should be slain 
by his hospitable entertainer, this denotes that 
religious' dissensions may cause treachery, 
bloody animosities, and deceit, even between 
the nearest friends. 

That complaining or bewailing should not, 
in so enormous a case, be permitted to friends 
affected by the catastrophe without punish- 
ment, includes this prudent admonition, that 
almost in all kinds of wickedness and deprav- 
ity men have still room left for commiseration, 
so that they who hate the crime may yet pity 
the person and bewail his calamity, from a 
principle of humanity and good nature; and to 
forbid the overflowings and intercourses of pity 
upon such occasions were the extremest of 
evils ; yet in the cause of religion and impiety 
the very commiserations of men are noted and 
suspected. On the other hand, the lamenta- 
tions and complainings of the followers and 
attendants of Diomed, that is, of men of the 
same sect or persuasion, are usually very 
sweet, agreeable, and moving, like the dying 
notes of swans or the birds of Diomed. This 
also is a noble and remarkable part of the alle- 
gory, denoting that the last words of those who 
suffer for the sake of religion strongly affect 
and sway men's minds, and leave a lasting im- 
pression upon the sense and memory. 





The ancients have left us a description of 
mechanical skill, industry, and curious arts 
converted to ill uses, in the person of Daedalus, 
a most ingenious but execrable artist. This 
Daedalus was banished for the murder of his 
brother artist and rival, yet found a kind re- 
ception in his banishment from the kings and 
states where he came. He raised many in- 
comparable edifices to the honor of the gods, 
and invented many new contrivances for the 
beautifying and ennobling of cities and public 
places, but still he was most famous for wicked 
inventions. Among the rest, by his abomina- 
ble industry and destructive genius, he assisted 
in the fatal and infamous production of the 
monster Minotaur, that devourer of promising 
youths. And then to cover one mischief with 
another, and provide for the security of his 
monster, he invented and built a labyrinth ; a 
work infamous for its end and design, but 
admirable and prodigious for art and work- 
manship. After this, that he might not only 
be celebrated for wicked inventions, but be 
sought after, as well for prevention as for in- 
struments of mischief, he formed that ingeni- 
ous device of his clew, which led directly 
through all the windings of the labyrinth. 
This Daedalus was persecuted by Minos with 
the utmost severity, diligence, and inquiry; but 


he always found refuge and means of escap- 
ing. Lastly, endeavoring to teach his son 
Icarus the art of flying, the novice, trusting 
too much to his wings, fell from his towering 
flight, and was drowned in the sea. 

Explanation. — The sense of the fable runs 
thus. It first denotes envy, which is contin- 
ually upon the watch, and strangely prevails 
among excellent artificers ; for no kind of peo- 
ple are observed to be more implacably and 
destructively envious to one another than 

In the next place, it observes an impolitic 
and improvident kind of punishment inflicted 
upon Daedalus, that of banishment; for good 
workmen are gladly received everywhere, so 
that banishment to an excellent artificer is 
scarce any punishment at all; whereas other 
conditions of life cannot easily flourish from 
home. For the admiration of artist is propa- 
gated and increased among foreigners and 
strangers; it being a principle in the minds of 
men to slight and despise the mechanical oper- 
ators of their own nation. 

The succeeding part of the fable is plain, 
concerning the use of mechanic arts, whereto 
human life stands greatly indebted, as receiv- 
ing from this treasury numerous particulars 
for the service of religion, the ornament of 
civil society, and the whole provision and 
apparatus of life; but then the same magazine 
supplies instruments of lust, cruelty and death. 
For, not to mention the arts of luxury and 


debauchery, we plainly see how far the busi- 
ness of exquisite poisons, guns, engines of war, 
and such kind of destructive inventions, ex- 
ceeds the cruelty and barbarity of the Mino- 
taur himself. 

The addition of the labyrinth contains a 
beautiful allegory, representing the nature of 
mechanic arts in general; for all ingenious 
and accurate mechanical inventions may be 
conceived as a labyrinth, which, by reason of 
their subtility, intricacy, crossing, and interfer- 
ing with one another, and the apparent resem- 
blances they have among themselves, scarce 
any power of the judgment can unravel and 
distinguish; so that they are only to be under- 
stood and traced by the clew of experience. 

It is no less prudently added, that he who 
invented the windings of the labyrinth, should 
also show the use and management of the 
clew; for mechanical arts have an ambiguous 
or double use, and serve as well to produce as 
to prevent mischief and destruction; so that 
their virtue almost destroys or unwinds itself. 

Unlawful arts, and, indeed, frequently arts 
themselves, are persecuted by Minos, that is, 
by laws, which prohibit and forbid their use 
among the people; but notwithstanding this, 
they are hid, concealed, retained, and every- 
where find reception and skulking-places; a 
thing well observed by Tacitus of the astrol- 
ogers and fortune tellers of his time. "These," 
says he, "are a kind of men that will always 
be prohibited, and yet will always be retained 
in our city." 


But lastly, all unlawful and vain arts, of 
what kind soever, lose their reputation in tract 
of time ; grow contemptible and perish, through 
their over-confidence, like Icarus; being com- 
monly unable to perform what they boasted. 
And to say the truth, such arts are better sup- 
pressed by their own vain pretensions, than 
checked or restrained by the bridle of laws. 



The poets feign that Vulcan attempted the 
chastity of Minerva, and impatient of refusal, 
had recourse to force; the consequence of 
which was the birth of Ericthonius, whose 
body from the middle upward was comely and 
well-proportioned, but his thighs and legs 
small, shrunk, and deformed, like an eel. 
Conscious of his defect, he became the inventor 
of chariots, so as to show the graceful, but 
conceal the deformed part of his body. 

Explanation. — This strange fable seems to 
carry this meaning. Art is here represented 
under the person of Vulcan, by reason of the 
various uses it makes of fire ; and nature under 
the person of Minerva, by reason of the indus- 
try employed in her works. Art, therefore, 
whenever it offers violence to nature, in order 
to conquer, subdue, and bend her to its pur- 
pose, by tortures and force of all kinds, seldom 
obtains the end proposed; yet upon great 


struggle and application, there proceed certain 
imperfect births, or lame abortive works, 
specious in appearance, but weak and unstable 
in use; which are, nevertheless, with great 
pomp and deceitful appearances, triumphantly 
carried about, and shown by impostors. A 
procedure very familiar, and remarkable in 
chemical productions, and new mechanical in- 
ventions; especially when the inventors rather 
hug their errors than improve upon them, and 
go on struggling with nature, not courting her. 



The poets tell us, that the inhabitants of the 
old world being totally destroyed by the uni- 
versal deluge, excepting Deucalion and 
Pyrrha, these two desiring with zealous and 
fervent devotion to restore mankind, received 
this oracle for answer, that "they should suc- 
ceed by throwing their mother's bones behind 
them." This at first cast them into great sor- 
row and despair, because, as all things were 
leveled by the deluge, it was in vain to seek 
their mother's tomb; but at length they un- 
derstood the expression of the oracle to signify 
the stones of the earth, which is esteemed the 
mother of all things. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to reveal a 
secret of nature, and correct an error familiar 
to the mind; for men's ignorance leads them 


to expect the renovation or restoration of 
things from their corruption and remains, as 
the phoenix is said to be restored out of its 
ashes; which is a very improper procedure be- 
cause such kind of materials have finished 
their course, and are become absolutely unfit 
to supply the first rudiments of the same 
things again ; whence, in cases of renovation, 
recourse should be had to more common prin- 



Nemesis is represented as a goddess vener- 
ated by all, but feared by the powerful and the 
fortunate. She is said to be the daughter of 
Nox and Oceanus. She is drawn with wings, 
and a crown; a javelin of ash in her right 
hand; a glass containing Ethiopians in her 
left ; and riding upon a stag. 

Explanation. — The fable receives this ex- 
planation. The word Nemesis manifestly sig- 
nifies revenge, or retribution ; for the office of 
this goddess consisted in interposing, like the 
Roman tribunes, with an "I forbid it" in all 
courses of constant and perpetual felicity, so 
as not only to chastise haughtiness, but also to 
repay even innocent and moderate happiness 
with adversity, as if it were decreed, that none 
of the human race should be admitted to the 
banquet of the gods, but ior sport. And, in- 


deed, to read over that chapter of Pliny 
wherein he has collected the miseries and mis- 
fortunes of Augustus Caesar, whom of all man- 
kind one would judge most fortunate — as he 
had a certain art of using and enjoying pros- 
perity, with a mind no way tumid, light, 
effeminate, confused, or melancholic — one can 
not but think this is a very great and powerful 
goddess, who could bring such a victim to her 

The parents of this goddess were Oceanus 
and Nox; that is, the fluctuating change of 
things, and the obscure and secret divine de- 
crees. The changes of things are aptly repre- 
sented by the Ocean, on account of its perpet- 
ual ebbing and flowing; and secret providence 
is justly expressed by Night. Even the hea- 
thens have observed this secret Nemesis of the 
night, or the difference between divine and 
human judgment. 

Wings are given to Nemesis, because of the 
sudden and unforeseen changes of things; for, 
from the earliest account of time, it has been 
common for great and prudent men to fall by 
the dangers they most despised. Thus Cicero, 
when admonished by Brutus of the infidelity 
and rancor of Octavius, coolly wrote back, "I 
cannot, however, but be obliged to you, Bru- 
tus, as I ought, for informing me, though of 
such a trifle. " 

Nemesis also has her crown, by reason of the 
invidious and malignant nature of the vulgar, 
who generally rejoice, triumph, and crown 

20 Bacon 


her, at the fall of the fortunate and the power- 
ful. And for the javelin in her right hand, it 
has regard to those whom she has actually 
struck and transfixed. But whoever escapes her 
stroke, or feels no actual calamity or misfor- 
tune, she affrights with a black and dismal 
sight in her left hand; for doubtless, mortals 
on the highest pinnacle of felicity have a pros- 
pect of death, diseases, calamities, perfidious 
friends, undermining enemies, reverses of for- 
tune, etc., represented by the Ethiopians in her 
glass. Thus Virgil, with great elegance, 
describing the battle of Actium, says of Cleo- 
patra, that 44 she did not yet perceive the two 
asps behind her;" but soon after, which way 
soever she turned, she saw whole troops of 
Ethiopians still before her. 

Lastly, it is significantly added, that Neme- 
sis rides upon a stag, which is a very long-lived 
creature; for though perhaps some, by an 
untimely death in youth, may prevent or es- 
cape this goddess, yet they who enjoy a long 
flow of happiness and power, doubtless become 
subject to her at length, and are brought to 



The ancients relate that Hercules and 
Achelous being rivals in the courtship of 
Deianira, the matter was contested by single 
combat; when Achelous having transformed 
himself, as he had power to do, into various 


shapes, by way of trial ; at length, in the form 
of a fierce wild bull, prepares himself for the 
fight; but Hercules still retains his human 
shape, engages sharply with him, and in the 
issue broke off one of the bull's horns; and 
now Achelous, in great pain and fright, to 
redeem his horn, presents Hercules with the 

Explanation. — This fable relates to military 
expeditions and preparations; for the prepara- 
tion of war on the defensive side, here denoted 
by Achelous, appears in various shapes, while 
the invading side has but one simple form, 
consisting either in an army, or perhaps a 
fleet. But the country that expects the inva- 
sion is employed in infinite ways, in fortifying 
towns, blockading passes, rivers, and ports, 
raising soldiers, disposing garrisons, building 
and breaking down bridges, procuring aids, 
securing provisions, arms, ammunition, etc. 
So that there appears a new face of things 
every day; and at length, when the country is 
sufficiently fortified and prepared, it represents 
to the life the form and threats of a fierce 
fighting bull. 

On the other side, the invader presses on to 
the fight, fearing to be distressed in an 
enemy's country. And if after the battle he 
remains master of the field, and has now 
broke, as it were, the horn of his enemy, the 
besieged, of course, retire inglorious, affrighted 
and dismayed, to their stronghold, there en- 
deavoring to secure themselves and repair their 


strength; leaving, at the same time, their 
country a prey to the conqueror, which is well 
expressed by the Amalthean horn, or corn- 



The fable runs, that Semele, Jupiter's mis- 
tress, having- bound him by an inviolable oath 
to grant her an unknown request, desired he 
would embrace her in the same form and man- 
ner he used to embrace Juno; and the promise 
being irrevocable, she was burned to death 
with lightning in the performance. The em- 
bryo, however, was sewed up, and carried in 
Jupiter's thigh till the complete time of its 
birth ; but the burden thus rendering the father 
lame, and causing him pain, the child was 
thence called Dionysus. When born, he was 
committed, for some years, to be nursed by 
Proserpina; and when grown up, appeared 
with so effeminate a face that his sex seemed 
somewhat doubtful. He also died and was 
buried for a time, but afterward revived. 
When a youth, he first introduced the cultiva- 
tion and dressing of vines, the method of pre- 
paring wine, and taught the use thereof; 
whence becoming famous, he subdued the 
world, even to the utmost bounds of the Indies. 
He rode in a chariot drawn by tigers. There 
danced about him certain deformed demons 
called Cobali, etc. The Muses also joined in 
his train. He married Ariadne, who was 


deserted by Theseus. The ivy was sacred to 
him. He was also held the inventor and in- 
stitutor of religious rites and ceremonies, but 
such as were wild, frantic, and full of corrup- 
tion and cruelty. He had also the power of 
striking men with frenzies. Pentheus and 
Orpheus were torn to pieces by the frantic 
women at his orgies; the first for climbing a 
tree to behold their outrageous ceremonies, 
and the other for the music of his harp. But 
the acts of this god are much entangled and 
confounded with those of Jupiter. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to contain 
a little system of morality, so that there is 
scarce any better invention in all ethics. Un- 
der the history of Bacchus is drawn the nature 
of unlawful desire or affection, and disorder ; 
for the appetite and thirst of apparent good is 
the mother of all unlawful desires, though 
ever so destructive, and all unlawful desires 
are conceived in unlawful wishes or requests, 
rashly indulged or granted before they are 
well understood or considered, and when the 
affection begins to grow warm, the mother of 
it (the nature of good) is destroyed and burned 
up by the heat. And while an unlawful de- 
sire lies in the embryo, or unripened in the 
mind, w r hich is its father, and here represented 
by Jupiter, it is cherished and concealed, 
especially in the inferior part of the mind, cor- 
responding to the thigh of the body, where 
pnin twitches and depresses the mind so far as 
tojenderits resolutions and actions imperfect 


and lame. And even after this child of the 
mind is confirmed, and gains strength by con- 
sent and habit, and comes forth into action, it 
must still be nursed by Proserpina for a time; 
that is, it skulks and hides its head in a clan- 
destine manner, as it were under ground, till 
at length, when the checks of shame and fear 
are removed, and the requisite boldness 
acquired, it either assumes the pretext of some 
virtue, or openly despises infamy. And it is 
justly observed, that every vehement passion 
appears of a doubtful sex, as having the 
strength of a man at first, but at last the im- 
potence of a woman. It is also excellently 
added, that Bacchus died and rose again ; for 
the affections sometimes seem to die and be 
no more ; but there is no trusting them, even 
though they were buried, being always apt 
and ready to rise again whenever the occasion 
or object offers. 

That Bacchus should be the inventor of wine 
carries a fine allegory with it; for every affec- 
tion is cunning and subtile in discovering a 
proper matter to nourish and feed it ; and of 
all things known to mortals, wine is the most 
powerful and effectual for exciting and inflam- 
ing passions of all kinds, being indeed like a 
common fuel to all. 

It is again with great elegance observed of 
Bacchus, that he subdued provinces, and un- 
dertook endless expeditions, for the affections 
never rest satisfied with what they enjoy, but 
with an endless and insatiable appetite thirst 
after something further. And tigers are pret- 


tily feigned to draw the chariot ; for as soon as 
any affection shall, from going on foot, be 
advanced to ride, it triumphs over reason, and 
exerts its cruelty, fierceness, and strength 
against all that oppose it. 

It is also humorously imagined, that ridicu- 
lous demons dance and frisk about this cha- 
riot ; for every passion produces indecent, dis- 
orderly, interchangeable, and deformed mo- 
tions in the eyes, countenance, and gesture, so 
that the person under the impulse, whether of 
anger, insult, love, etc., though to himself he 
may seem grand, lofty, or obliging, yet in the 
eyes of other appears mean, contemptible, or 

The Muses also are found in the train of 
Bacchus, for there is scarce any passion with- 
out its art, science, or doctrine to court and 
flatter it ; but in this respect the indulgence of 
men of genius has greatly detracted from the 
majesty of the Muses, who ought to be the 
leaders and conductors of human life, and not 
the handmaids of the passions. 

The allegory of Bacchus falling in love with 
a cast mistress is extremely noble; for it is 
certain that the affections always court and 
covet what has been rejected upon experience. 
And all those who by serving and indulging 
their passions immensely raise the value of 
enjoyment, should know, that whatever they 
covet and pursue, whether riches, pleasure, 
glory, learning, or anything else, they only 
pursue those things that have been forsaken 


and cast off with contempt by great numbers 
in all ages, after possession and experience. 

Nor is it without a mystery that the ivy was 
sacred to Bacchus, and this for two reasons: 
first, because ivy is an evergreen, or flourishes 
in the winter; and, secondly, because it winds 
and creeps about so many things, as trees, 
walls, and buildings, and raises itself above 
them. As to the first, every passion grows 
fresh, strong, and vigorous by opposition and 
prohibition, as it were by a kind of contrast or 
antiperistasis, like the ivy in the winter. And 
for the second, the predominant passion of 
the mind throws itself, like the ivy, round all 
human actions, entwines all our resolutions, 
and perpetually adheres to, and mixes itself 
among, or even overtops them. 

And no wonder that superstitious rites and 
ceremonies are attributed to Bacchus, when 
almost every ungovernable passion grows 
wanton and luxuriant in corrupt religions ; nor 
again, that fury and frenzy should be sent and 
dealt out by him, because every passion is a 
short frenzy, and if it be vehement, lasting, 
and take deep root, it terminates in madness. 
And hence the allegory of Pentheus and 
Orpheus being torn to pieces is evident: for 
every headstrong passion is extremely bitter, 
severe, inveterate, and revengeful upon all 
curious inquiry, wholesome admonition, free 
counsel, and persuasion. 

Lastly, the confusion between the persons of 
Jupiter and Bacchus will justly admit of an 
allegory, because noble and meritorious actions 


may sometimes proceed from virtue, sound 
reason, and magnanimity, and sometimes 
again from a concealed passion and secret 
desire of ill, however they may be extolled and 
praised, insomuch that it is not easy to distin- 
guish between the acts of Bacchus and the acts 
of Jupiter. 




Atalanta, who was exceeding fleet, con- 
tended with Hippomenes in the course, on con- 
dition that if Hippomenes won, he should 
espouse her, or forfeit his life if he lost. The 
match was very unequal, for Atalanta had 
conquered numbers, to their destruction. 
Hippomenes, therefore, had recourse to strat- 
agem. He procured three golden apples, and 
purposely carried them with him : they started ; 
Atalanta outstripped him soon; then Hippo- 
menes bowled one of his apples before her, 
across the course, in order not only to make 
her stoop, but to draw her out of the path. 
She, prompted by female curiosity, and the 
beauty of the golden fruit, starts from the 
course to take up the apple. Hippomenes, in 
the meantime, holds on his way, and steps 
before her; but she, by her natural swiftness, 
soon fetches up her lost ground, and leaves 
him again behind. Hippomenes, however, 
by rightly timing his second and third throw, 


at length won the race, not by his swiftness, 
but his cunning. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to contain 
a noble allegory of the contest between art and 
nature. For art, here denoted by Atalanta, 
is much swifter, or more expeditious in its 
operations than nature, when all obstacles and 
impediments are removed, and sooner arrives 
at its end. This appears almost in every in- 
stance. Thus fruit comes slowly from the 
kernel, but soon by inoculation or incision; 
clay, left to itself, is a long time in acquiring a 
stony hardness, but is presently burnt by fire 
into brick. So again in human life, nature is 
a long while in alleviating and abolishing the 
remembrance of pain, and assuaging the 
troubles of the mind ; but moral philosophy, 
which is the art of living, performs it presently. 
Yet this prerogative and singular efficacy of art 
is stopped and retarded to the infinite detri- 
ment of human life, by certain golden apples ; 
for there is no one science or art that con- 
stantly holds on its true and proper course to 
the end, but they are all continually stopping 
short, forsaking the track, and turning aside 
to profit and convenience, exactly like Ata- 
lanta. Whence it is no wonder that art gets 
not the victory over nature, nor, according to 
the condition of the contest, brings her under 
subjection; but, on the contrary, remains sub- 
ject to her, as a wife to a husband. 




The ancients relate that man was the work 
of Prometheus, and formed of clay; only the 
artificer mixed in with the mass, particles 
taken from different animals. And being 
desirous to improve his workmanship, and 
endow, as well as create, the human race, he 
stole up to heaven with a bundle of birch-rods, 
and kindling- them at the chariot of the Sun, 
thence brought down fire to the earth for the 
service of men. 

They add, that for this meritorious act Pro- 
metheus was repaid with ingratitude by man- 
kind, so that, forming a conspiracy, they 
arraigned both him and his invention before 
Jupiter. But the matter was otherwise re- 
ceived than they imagined; for the accusation 
proved extremely grateful to Jupiter and the 
gods, insomuch that, delighted with the action, 
they not only indulged mankind the use of 
fire, but moreover conferred upon them a most 
acceptable and desirable present, viz., perpet- 
ual youth. 

But men, foolishly overjoyed hereat, laid 
this present of the gods upon an ass, who, in 
returning back with it, being extremely 
thirsty, strayed to a fountain. The serpent, 
who was guardian thereof, would not suffer 
him to drink, but upon condition of receiving 
the burden he carried, whatever it should be. 


The silly ass complied, and thus the perpetual 
renewal of youth was, for a drop of water, 
transferred from men to the race of serpents. 

Prometheus, not desisting from his unwar- 
rantable practices, though now reconciled to 
mankind after they were thus tricked of their 
present, but still continuing inveterate against 
Jupiter, had the boldness to attempt deceit, 
even in a sacrifice, and is said to have once 
offered up two bulls to Jupiter, but so as in the 
hide of one of them to wrap all the flesh and fat 
of both, and stuffing out the other hide only 
with the bones; then in a religious and devout 
manner, gave Jupiter his choice of the two. 
Jupiter, detesting this sly fraud and hypoc- 
risy, but having thus an opportunity of punish- 
ing the offender, purposely chose the mock 

And now giving way to revenge, but finding 
he could not chastise the insolence of Prome- 
theus without afflicting the human race (in the 
production whereof Prometheus had strangely 
and insufferably prided himself), he com- 
manded Vulcan to form a beautiful and grace- 
ful woman, to whom every god presented a 
certain gift, whence she was called Pandora. 
They put into her hands an elegant box, con- 
taining all sorts of miseries and misfortunes; 
but Hope was placed at the bottom of it. With 
this box she first goes to Prometheus, to try if 
she could prevail upon him to receive and open 
it; but he, being upon his guard, warily re- 
fused the offer. Upon this refusal, she comes 
to his brother Epimetheus, a man of a very 


different temper, who rashly and inconsider- 
ately opens the box. When finding all kinds 
of miseries and misfortunes issued out of it, he 
grew wise too late, and with great hurry and 
struggle endeavored to clap the cover on again ; 
but with all his endeavor could scarce keep in 
Hope, which lay at the bottom. 

Lastly, Jupiter arraigned Prometheus of 
many heinous crimes: as that he formerly 
stole fire from heaven; that he contemptuously 
and deceitfully mocked him by a sacrifice of 
bones; that he despised his present, adding 
withal a new crime, that he attempted to rav- 
ish Pallas; for all which he was sentenced to 
be bound in chains, and doomed to perpetual 
torments. Accordingly, by Jupiter's com- 
mand, he was brought to Mount Caucasus, and 
there fastened to a pillar so firmly that he 
could no way stir. A vulture or eagle stood 
by him, which in the day-time gnawed and 
consumed his liver; but in the night the 
wasted parts were supplied again; whence 
matter for his pain w r as never wanting. 

They relate, however, that his punishment 
had an end; for Hercules sailing the ocean, in 
a cup, or pitcher, presented him by the Sun, 
came at length to Caucasus, shot the eagle 
with his arrow, and set Prometheus free. In 
certain nations, also, there were instituted par- 
ticular games of the torch, to the honor of 
Prometheus, in which they who ran for the 
prize carried lighted torches; and as any one 
of these torches happened to go out, the bearer 
withdrew himself, and gave way to the next; 


and that person was allowed to win the prize 
who first brought in his lighted torch to the 

Explanation. — This fable contains and en- 
forces many just and serious considerations; 
some whereof have been long since well ob- 
served, but some again remain perfectly un- 
touched. Prometheus clearly and expressly 
signifies ProvideAce; for of all the things in 
nature, the formation and endowment of man 
was singled out by the ancients, and esteemed 
the peculiar work of Providence. The reason 
hereof seems, i. That the nature of man in- 
cludes a mind and understanding, which is the 
seat of Providence. 2. That it is harsh and 
incredible to suppose reason and mind should 
be raised, and drawn out of senseless and irra- 
tional principles; whence it becomes almost 
inevitable that providence is implanted in the 
human mind in conformity with, and by the 
direction and the design of the greater over- 
ruling Providence. But, 3. The principal 
cause is this: that man seems to be the thing 
in which the whole world centers, with respect 
to final causes; so that if he were away, all 
other things would stray and fluctuate, with- 
out end or intention, or become perfectly dis- 
jointed and out of frame; for all things are 
made subservient to man, and he receives use 
and benefit from them all. Thus the revolu- 
tions, places, and periods, of the celestial 
bodies, serve him for distinguishing times and 
sesons, and for dividing the world into differ- 


ent regions; the meteors afford him prognos- 
tications of the weather; the winds sail our 
ships, drive our mills, and move our machines; 
and the vegetables and animals of all kinds 
either afford us matter for houses and habita- 
tions, clothing, food, physic, or tend to ease or 
delight, to support or refresh us: so that 
everything in nature seems not made for itself, 
but for man. 

And it was not without reason added, that 
the mass of matter whereof man was formed 
should be mixed up with particles taken from 
different animals and wrought in with the 
clay, because it is certain that of all things in 
the universe man is the most compounded and 
re-compounded body; so that the ancients not 
improperly styled him a Microcosm, or little 
world within himself. For although the 
chemists have absurdly, and too literally 
wrested and perverted the elegance of the 
term microcosm, while they pretend to find all 
kind of mineral and vegetable matters, or 
something corresponding to them, in man, 
yet it remains firm and unshaken that the 
human body is of all substances the most mixed 
and organical; whence it has surprising 
powers and faculties ; for the powers of simple 
bodies are but few, though certain and quick ; 
as being little broken or weakened, and not 
counterbalanced by mixture: but excellence 
and quantity of energy reside in mixture and 

Man, however, in his first origin, seems to 
be a defenseless, naked creature, slow in 


assisting himself, and standing in need of 
numerous things. Prometheus, therefore, 
hastened to the invention of fire, which sup- 
plies and administers to nearly all human uses 
and necessities, insomuch that, if the soul may- 
be called the form of the forms, if the hand may 
be called the instrument of instruments, fire 
may, as properly, be called the assistant of 
assistants, or the helper of helps; for hence 
proceed numberless operations, hence all the 
mechanic arts, and hence infinite assistances 
are afforded to the sciences themselves. 

The manner wherein Prometheus stole this 
fire is properly described from the nature of 
the thing; he being said to have done it by 
applying a rod of birch to the chariot of the 
Sun; for birch is used in striking and beating, 
which clearly denotes the generation of fire 
to be from the violent percussions and colli- 
sions of bodies; whereby the matters struck 
are subtilized, rarefied, put into motion, and 
so prepared to receive the heat of the celestial 
bodies; whence they, in a clandestine and 
secret manner, collect and snatch fire, as it 
were by stealth, from the chariot of the Sun. 

The next is a remarkable part of the fable, 
which represents that men, instead of grati- 
tude and thanks, fell into indignation and ex- 
postulation, accusing both Prometheus and his 
fire to Jupiter — and yet the accusation proved 
highly pleasing to Jupiter; so that he, for this 
reason, crowned these benefits of mankind 
with a new bounty. Here it may seem strange 
that the sin of ingratitude to a creator and 


benefactor, a sin so heinous as to include 
almost all others, should meet with approba- 
tion and reward. But the allegory has another 
view, and denotes that the accusation and 
arraignment, both of human nature and 
human art among mankind, proceeds from a 
most noble and laudable temper of the mind, 
and tends to a very good purpose; whereas 
the contrary temper is odious to the gods, and 
unbeneficial in itself. For they who break 
into extravagant praises of human nature, and 
the arts in vogue, and who lay themselves out 
in admiring the things they already possess, 
and will needs have the sciences cultivated 
among them, to be thought absolutely perfect 
and complete, in the first place, show little 
regard to the divine nature, while they extol 
their own inventions almost as high as his 
perfection. In the next place, men of this 
temper are unserviceable and prejudicial in 
life, while they imagine themselves already got 
to the top of things, and there rest, with- 
out further inquiry. On the contrary, they 
who arraign and accuse both nature and art, 
and are always full of complaints against 
them, not only preserve a more just and 
modest sense of mind, but are also perpetually 
stirred up to fresh industry and new discov- 
eries. Is not, then, the ignorance and fatality 
of mankind to be extremely pitied, while they 
remain slaves to the arrogance of a few of 
their own fellows, and are dotingly fond of 
that scrap of Grecian knowledge, the Peripa- 
tetic philosophy; and this to such a degree, as 

21 Bacon 


not only to think all accusation or arraignment 
thereof useless, but even hold it suspect and 
dangerous? Certainly the procedure of Em- 
pedocles, though furious — but especially that 
of Democritus (who with great modesty com- 
plained that all things were abstruse; that 
we know nothing; that truth lies hid in deep 
pits; that falsehood is strangely joined and 
twisted along with truth, etc.) — is to be pre- 
ferred before the confident, assuming, and 
dogmatical school of Aristotle. Mankind are, 
therefore, to be admonished, that the arraign- 
ment of nature and of art is pleasing to the 
gods; and that a sharp and vehement accusa- 
tion of Prometheus, though a creator, a foun- 
der, and a master, obtained new blessings and 
presents from the divine bounty, and proved 
more sound and serviceable than a diffusive 
harangue of praise and gratulation. And let 
men be assured that the fond opinion that they 
have already acquired enough, is a principal 
reason why they have acquired so little. 

That the perpetual flower of youth should 
be the present which mankind received as a 
reward for their accusation, carries this moral; 
that the ancients seem not to have despaired 
of discovering methods, and remedies, ' for 
retarding old age, and prolonging the period 
of human life, but rather reckoned it among 
those things which, through sloth and want 
of diligent inquiry, perish and come to noth- 
ing, after having been once undertaken than 
among such as are absolutely impossible, or 
placed beyond the reach of the human power. 


For they signify and intimate from the true ' 
use of fire, and the just and strenuous accusa- 
tion and conviction of the errors of art, that 
the divine bounty is not wanting to men in 
such kind of presents, but that men indeed are 
wanting to themselves, and lay such an inesti- 
mable gift upon the back of a slow-paced ass; 
that is, upon the back of the heavy, dull, 
lingering thing, experience; from whose 
sluggish and tortoise-pace proceeds that 
ancient complaint of the shortness of life, and 
the slow advancement of arts. And certainly 
it may well seem, that the two faculties of 
reasoning and experience are not hitherto 
properly joined and coupled together, but to 
be still new gifts of the gods, separately laid, 
the one upon the back of a light bird, or ab- 
stract philosophy, and the other upon an ass, 
or slow-paced practice and trial. And yet good 
hopes might be conceived of this ass, if it 
were not for his thirst and the accidents of 
the way. For we judge, that if any one would 
constantly proceed, by a certain law and 
method, in the road of experience, and not by 
the way thirst after such such experiments as 
make for profit or ostentation, nor exchange 
his burden, or quit the original design for the 
sake of these, he might be a useful bearer of 
a new and accumulated divine bounty to man- 

That this gift of perpetual youth should pass 
from men to serpents, seems added by way of 
ornament, and illustration to the fable; per- 
haps intimating, at the same time, the shame 


it is for men, that they, with their fire, and 
numerous arts, cannot procure to themselves 
those things which nature has bestowed upon 
many other creatures. 

The sudden reconciliation of Prometheus to 
mankind, after being disappointed of their 
hopes, contains a prudent and useful admoni- 
tion. It points out the levity and temerity of 
men in new experiments, when, not presently 
succeeding, or answering to expectation, they 
precipitantly quit their new undertakings, 
hurry back to their old ones, and grow recon- 
ciled thereto. 

After the fable has described the state of 
man, with regard to arts and intellectual mat- 
ters it passes on to religion ; for after the invent- 
ing and settling of arts, follows the establish- 
ment of divine w T orship, which hypocrisy 
presently enters into and corrupts. So that 
by the two sacrifices we have elegantly painted 
the person of a man truly religious and of a 
hypocrite. One of these sacrifices contained 
the fat, or the portion of God, used for burn- 
ing and incensing; thereby denoting affection 
and zeal, offered up to his glory. It likewise 
contained the bowels, which are expressive of 
charity, along with the good and useful flesh. 
But the other contained nothing more than 
dry bones, which nevertheless stuffed out the 
hide, so as to make it resemble a fair, beautiful 
and magnificent sacrifice; hereby finely denot- 
ing the external and empty rights and barren 
ceremonies, wherewith men burden and stuff 
out the divine worship — things rather in- 


tended for show and ostentation than conduc- 
ing to piety. Nor are mankind simply content 
with this mock- worship of God, but also impose 
and father it upon him, as if he had chosen 
and ordained it. Certainly the prophet, in the 
person of God, has a fine expostulation, as to 
this matter of choice: "Is this the fasting 
which I have chosen, that a man should afflict 
his soul for a day, and bow down his head 
like a bulrush? 1 ' 

After thus touching the state of religion, 
the fable next turns to manners, and the con- 
ditions of human life. And though it be a 
very common, yet it is a just interpretation, 
that Pandora denotes the pleasures and licen- 
tiousness which the cultivation and luxury of 
the arts of civil life introduce, as it were, by 
the instrumental efficacy of fire; whence the 
works of the voluptuary arts are properly 
attributed to Vulcan, the God of fire. And 
hence infinite miseries and calamities have 
proceeded to the minds, the bodies, and the 
fortunes of men, together with a late repen- 
dance; and this not only in each man's partic- 
ular, but also in kingdoms and states; for 
wars, and tumults, and tyrannies, have all 
arisen from this same fountain, or box of Pan- 

It is worth observing, how beautifully and 
elegantly the fable has drawn two reigning 
characters in human life, and giving two 
examples, or tablatures of them, under the 
persons of Prometheus and Epimetheus. The 
followers of Epimetheus are improvident, see 


not far before them, and prefer such things as 
are agreeable for the present; whence they 
are oppressed with numerous straits, diffi- 
culties, and calamities, with which they almost 
continually struggle; but in the meantime 
gratify their own temper, and, for want of a 
better knowledge of things, feed their minds 
with many vain hopes; and as with so many 
pleasing dreams, delight themselves, and 
sweeten the miseries of life. 

But the followers of Prometheus are the 
prudent, wary men, that look into futurity, and 
cautiously guard against, prevent, and under- 
mine many calamities and misfortunes. But 
this watchful, provident temper, is attended 
with a deprivation of numerous pleasures, and 
the loss of various delights, while such men 
debar themselves the use even of innocent 
things, and what is still worse, rack and torture 
themselves with cares, fears, and disquiets; 
being bound fast to the pillar of necessity, and 
tormented with numberless thoughts (which 
for their swiftness are well compared to an 
eagle), that continually wound, tear, and 
gnaw their liver or mind, unless, perhaps, they 
find some remission by intervals, or, as it 
were, at nights; but then new anxieties, 
dreads, and fears, soon return again, as it 
were in the morning. And therefore, very 
few men, of either temper, have secured to 
themselves the advantages of providence, and 
kept clear of disquiets, troubles, and misfor- 

Nor indeed can any man obtain this end 


without the assistance of Hercules; that is, 
of such fortitude and constancy of mind as 
stands prepared against every event, and 
remains indifferent to every change'; looking 
forward without being daunted, enjoying the 
good without disdain, and enduring the bad 
without impatience. And it must be observed, 
that even Prometheus had not the power to 
free himself, but owed his deliverance to 
another; for no natural in bred force and forti- 
tude could prove equal to such a task. The 
power of releasing him came from the utmost 
confines of the ocean, and from the sun ; that 
is, from Apollo, or knowledge; and again, 
from a due consideration of the uncertainty, 
instability, and fluctuating state of human life, 
which is aptly represented by sailing the 
ocean. Accordingly, Virgil has prudently 
joined these two together, accounting him 
happy who knows the causes of things, and 
has conquered all his fears, apprehensions, 
and superstitions. 

It is added, with great elegance, for support- 
ing and confirming the human mind, that the 
great hero who thus delivered him sailed the 
ocean in a cup or pitcher, to prevent fear or 
complaint; as if, through the narrowness of 
our nature, or a too great fragility thereof, 
we were absolutely incapable of that fortitude 
and constancy to which Seneca finally alludes, 
when he says, "It is a noble thing, at once to 
participate in the frailty of man and the 
security of a god. " 

We have hitherto, that we might not break 


the connection of things, designedly omitted 
the last crime of Prometheus — that of attempt- 
ing the chastity of Minerva — which heinous 
offense it doubtless was that caused the pun- 
ishment of having his liver gnawed by the 
vulture. The meaning seems to be this — that 
when men are puffed up with arts and knowl- 
edge, they often try to subdue even the divine 
wisdom and bring it under the dominion of 
sense and reason, whence inevitably follows a 
perpetual and restless rending and tearing of 
the mind. A sober and humble distinction 
must, therefore, be made between divine and 
human things, and between the oracles of sense 
and faith, unless mankind had rather choose 
a heretical religion, and a fictitious and 
romantic philosophy. 

The last particular in the fable is the Games 
of the Torch, instituted to Prometheus, which 
again relates to arts and sciences, as well as 
the invention of fire, for the commemoration 
and celebration whereof these games were 
held. And here we have an extremely pru- 
dent admonition, directing us to expect the 
perfection of the sciences from succession, and 
not from the swiftness and abilities of any 
single person; for he who is fleetest and 
strongest in the course may perhaps be less 
fit to keep his torch alight, since there is 
danger of its going out from too rapid as well 
as from too slow a motion. But this kind of 
contest, with the torch, seems to have been 
long dropped and neglected; the sciences 
appearing to have flourished principally in 


their first authors, as Aristotle, Galen, Euclid, 
Ptolemy, etc. , while their successors have done 
very little, or scarce made any attempts. But 
it were highly to be wished that these games 
might be renewed, to the honor of Prome- 
theus or human nature, and that they might 
excite contest, emulation, and laudable en- 
deavors, and the design meet with such success 
as not to hang tottering, tremulous, and 
hazarded, upon the torch of any single person. 
Mankind, therefore, should be admonished to 
rouse themselves, and try and exert their own 
strength and chance, and not place all their 
dependence upon a few men, whose abilities 
and capacities, perhaps, are not greater than 
their own. 

These are the particulars which appear 
to us shadowed out by this trite and vulgar 
fable, though without denying that there may 
be contained in it several intimations that 
have a surprising correspondence with the 
Christian mysteries. In particular, the voyage 
of Hercules, made in a pitcher, to release 
Prometheus, bears an allusion to the word of 
God, coming in the frail vessel of the flesh to 
redeem mankind. But we indulge ourselves 
no such liberties as these, for fear of using 
strange fire at the altar of the Lord. 

22 Bacon 




Mediocrity, or the holding a middle course, 
has been highly extolled in morality, but 
little in matters of science, though no less 
useful and proper here; while in politics it is 
held suspected and ought to be employed with 
judgment. The ancients described medi- 
ocrity in manners by the course prescribed 
to Icarus; and in matters of the understand- 
ing by the steering between Scylla and Charyb- 
dis, on account of the great difficulty and 
danger in passing those straits. 

Icarus, being to fly across the sea, was 
ordered by his father neither to soar too high 
nor to fly too low, for, as his wings were 
fastened together with wax, there was danger 
of its melting by the sun's heat in too high a 
flight, and of its becoming less tenacious by 
the moisture if he kept too near the vapor of 
the sea. But he with a juvenile confidence, 
soared aloft, and fell down headlong. 

Explanation. — The fable is vulgar, and 
easily interpreted ; for the path of virtue lies 
straight between excess on the one side, and 
defect on the other. And no wonder that 
excess should prove the bane of Icarus, exult- 
ing in juvenile strength and vigor; for excess 
is the natural vice of youth, as defect is that 
of old age ; and if a man must perish by either, 


Icarus chose the better of the two; for all 
defects are justly esteemed more depraved than 
excesses. There is some magnanimity in 
excess, that, like a bird, claims kindred with 
the heavens; but defect is a reptile, that 
basely crawls upon the earth. It was excel- 
lently said by Heraclitus, "A dry light makes 
the best soul;" for if the soul contracts moist- 
ure from the earth, it perfectly degenerates 
and sinks. On the other hand, moderation 
must be observed, to prevent this fine light 
from burning, by its too great subtility and 
dryness. But these observations are common. 
In matters of the understanding, it requires 
great skill and a particular facility to steer 
clear of Scylla and Charybdis. If the ship 
strikes upon Scylla, it is dashed in pieces 
against the rocks; if upon Charybdis, it is 
swallowed outright. This allegory is preg- 
nant with matter; but we shall only observe 
the force of it lies here, that a means be ob- 
served in every doctrine, and science, and in 
the rules and axioms thereof, between the 
rocks of distinctions and the whirlpools of 
universalities; for these two are the bane and 
shipwreck of fine geniuses and arts. 



They relate that Sphinx was a monster, var- 
iously formed, having the face and voice of a 
virgin, the wings of a bird, and the talons of 
a griffin. She resided on the top of a moun- 


tain, near the city Thebes, and also beset the 
highways. Her manner was to lie in ambush 
and seize the travelers, and having them in 
her power, to propose to them certain dark and 
perplexed riddles, which it was thought she 
received from the Muses, and if her wretched 
captives could not solve and interpret these 
riddles, she w r ith great cruelty fell upon them, 
in their hesitation and confusion, and tore them 
to pieces. This plague,, having reigned a long 
time, the Thebans at length offered their king- 
dom to the man who could interpret her riddles, 
there being no other way to subdue her, 
CEdipus, a penetrating and prudent man, 
though lame in his feet, excited by so great a 
reward, accepted the condition, and with a good 
assurance of mind, cheerfully presented him- 
self before the monster, who directly asked 
him, "What creature that was, which being 
born four-footed, afterward became two-footed, 
then three-footed, and lastly four-footed again?" 
CEdipus, with presence of mind, replied it was 
man, who, upon his first birth and infant state, 
crawled upon all fours in endeavoring to walk; 
but not long after went up-right upon his two 
natural feet; again, in old age walked three- 
footed, with a stick; and at last, growing 
decrepit, lay four-footed confined to his bed; 
and having by this exact solution obtained the 
victory, he slew the monster, and, laying the 
carcass upon an ass, led her away in triumph, 
and upon this he was, according to the agree- 
ment, made king of Thebes. \ 


Explanation." — This is an elegant, instruc- 
tive fable, and seems invented to represent 
science, especially as joined with practice. 
For science may, without absurdity, be called 
a monster, being strangely gazed at and 
admired by the ignorant and unskilful. Her 
figure and form is various, by reason of the 
vast variety of subjects that science considers; 
her voice and countenance are represented 
female, by reason of her gay appearance and 
volubility of speech; wings are added, because 
the sciences and their inventions run and fly 
about in a moment, for knowledge, like light 
communicated from one torch to another, is 
presently caught and copiously diffused ; sharp 
and hooked talons are elegantly attributed to 
her, because the axioms and arguments of 
science enter the mind, lay hold of it, fix it 
down, and keep it from moving or slipping 
away. This the sacred philosopher observed, 
when he said, "The words of the wise are like 
goads or nails driven far in." Again, all 
science seems placed on high, as it were on the 
tops of mountains that are hard to climb; for 
science is justly imagined a sublime and lofty 
thing, looking down upon ignorance from an 
eminence, and at the same time taking an 
extensive view on all sides, as is usual on the 
tops of mountains. Science is said to beset the 
highways, because through all the journey and 
peregrination of human life there is matter and 
occasion offered of contemplation. 

Sphinx is said to propose various difficult 
questions and riddles to men, which she received 


from the Muses; and these questions, so long 
as they remain with the Muses, may very well 
be unaccompanied with severity, for while 
there is no other end of contemplation and 
inquiry but that of knowledge alone, the 
understanding is not oppressed, or driven to 
straits and difficulties, but expatiates and 
ranges at large, and even receives a degree of 
pleasure from doubt and variety ; but after the 
Muses have given over their riddles to Sphinx, 
that is to practice, which urges and impels to 
action, choice, and determination, then it is 
that they become torturing, severe, and try- 
ing, and, unless solved and interpreted, 
strangely perplex and harass the human mind, 
rend it every way, and perfectly tear it to 
pieces. All the riddles of Sphinx, therefore, 
have two conditions annexed, viz., dilaceration 
to those who do not solve them, and empire to 
those that do. For he who understands the 
thing proposed obtains his end, and every arti- 
ficer rules over his work. 

Sphinx has no more than two kinds of riddles, 
one relating to the nature of things, the 
other to the nature of man; and corres- 
pondent to these, the prizes of the solution are 
two kinds of empire - — the empire over nature, 
and the empire over man. For the true and 
ultimate end of natural philosophy is dominion 
over natural things, natural bodies, remedies, 
machines, and numberless other particulars, 
though the schools contended with what spon- 
taneously offers, and swollen with their own 


discourses, neglect, and in a manner despise, 
both things and works. 

But the riddle proposed to CEdipus, the 
solution whereof acquired him the Theban king- 
dom, regarded the nature of man, for he who 
has thoroughly looked into and examined 
human nature, may in a manner command his 
own fortune, and seems born to acquire 
dominion and rule. Accordingly, Virgil pro- 
perly makes the arts of government to be the 
arts of the Romans. It was, therefore, 
extremely apposite in Augustus Caesar to use 
the image of Sphinx in his signet, whether this 
happened by accident or by design; for he of 
all men was deeply versed in politics, and 
through the course of his life very happily 
solved abundance of new riddles with regard 
to the nature of man; and unless he had done 
this with great dexterity and ready address, he 
would frequently have been involved in immi- 
nent danger, if not destruction. 

It is with the utmost elegance added in the 
fable, that when Sphinx was conquered, her 
carcass was laid upon an ass ; for there is noth- 
ing so subtile and abstruse, but after being 
once made plain, intelligible, and common, it 
may be received by the slowest capacity. 

We must not omit that Sphinx was conquered 
by a lame man, and impotent in his feet; for 
men usually make too much haste to the solu- 
tion of Sphinx's riddles; whence it happens, 
that she prevailing, their minds are rather 
racked and torn by disputes, than invested with 
command by works and effects. 





They tell us, Pluto having, upon that memor- 
able division of empire among the gods, 
received the infernal regions for his share, 
despaired of winning any one of the goddesses 
in marriage by an obsequious courtship, and 
therefore through necessity resolved upon 
a rape. Having watched his opportunity, he 
suddenly seized upon Proserpine, a most 
beautiful virgin, the daughter of Ceres, as she 
was gathering narcissus flowers in the meads 
of Sicily, and hurrying her to his chariot, car- 
ried her with him to the subterraneal regions, 
where she was treated with the highest rever- 
ence, and styled the Lady of Dis. But Ceres 
missing her only daughter, whom she ex- 
tremely loved, grew pensive and anxious 
beyond measure, and taking a lighted torch in 
her hand, wandered the world over in quest of 
her daughter — but all to no purpose, till, sus- 
pecting she might be carried to the infernal 
regions, she, with great lamentation and abun- 
dance of tears, importuned Jupiter to restore 
her; and with much ado prevailed so far as to 
recover and bring her away, if she had tasted 
nothing there. This proved a hard condition 
upon the mother, for Proserpine was found to 
have eaten three kernels of a pomegranate. 
Ceres, however, desisted not, but fell to her 
entreaties and lamentations afresh, insomuch 
that at last it was indulged her that Proserpine 


should divide the year between her husband 
and her mother, and live six months with the 
one and as many with the other. After this, 
Theseus and Perithous, with uncommon audac- 
ity, attempted to force Proserpine away from 
Pluto's bed, but happening to grow tired in 
their journey, and resting themselves upon a 
stone in the realms below, they could never 
rise from it again, but remain sitting there 
forever. Proserpine, therefore, still continued 
queen of the lower regions, in honor of whom 
there was also added this grand privilege, that 
though it had never been permitted any one to 
return after having once descended thither, a 
particular exception was made, that he who 
brought a golden bough as a present to Pros- 
erpine, might on that condition descend and 
return. This was an only bough that grew in 
a large dark grove, not from a tree of its own, 
but like the mistletoe, from another, and when 
plucked away a fresh one always shot out in 
its stead. 

Explanation. — This fable seems to regard 
natural philosophy, and searches deep into that 
rich and fruitful virtue and supply in subter- 
raneous bodies, from whence all the things 
upon the earth's surface spring, and into which 
they again relapse and return. By Proserpine, 
the ancients denoted that ethereal spirit shut 
up and detained within the earth, here repre- 
sented by Pluto — the spirit being separated 
from the superior globe, according to the ex- 
pression of the poet. This spirit is conceived as 

22 Bacon 


ravished, or snatched up by the earth, because 
it can no way be detained, when it has time and 
opportunity to fly off, but is only wrought to- 
gether and fixed by sudden intermixture an'd 
comminution, in the same manner as if one 
should endeavor to mix air with water, which 
cannot otherwise be done than by a quick and 
rapid agitation, that joins them together in 
frontwhiletheairis thus caught up by the water. 
And it is elegantly added, that Proserpine was 
ravished while she gathered narcissus flowers, 
which have their name from numbness or 
stupefaction ; for the spirit we speak of is in 
the fittest disposition to be embraced by terres- 
trial matter when it begins to coagulate, or 
grow torpid as it were. 

It is an honor justly attributed to Proserpine, 
and not to any other wife of the gods, that of 
being the lady or mistress of her husband, 
because the spirit performs all its operations in 
the subterraneal regions, while Pluto, or the 
earth, remains stupid, or as it were ignorant of 

The ether, or the efficacy of the heavenly 
bodies, denoted by Ceres, endeavors with infin- 
ite diligence to force out this spirit, and restore 
it to its pristine state. And by the torch in the 
hand of Ceres, or the ether, is doubtless meant 
the sun, which disperses light over the whole 
globe of the earth, and if the thing were pos- 
sible, must have the greatest share in recover- 
ing Proserpine, or reinstating the subterraneal 
spirit. Yet Proserpine still continues and 
dwells below, after the manner excellently 


described in the condition between Jupiter and 
Ceres. For first, it is certain that there are 
two ways of detaining the spirit, in solid and 
terrestrial matter— the one by condensation or 
obstruction, which is mere violence and impris- 
onment; the other by administering a proper 
aliment, which is spontaneous and free. For 
after the included spirit begins to feed and 
nourish itself, it is not in a hurry to fly off, 
but remains as it were fixed in its own earth. 
And this is the moral of Proserpine's tasting 
the pomegranate; and were it not for this, she 
must long ago have been carried up by Ceres, 
who with her torch wandered the world over, 
and so the earth have been left without its 
spirit. For though the spirit in metals and 
minerals may perhaps be, after a particular 
manner, wrought in by the solidity of the mass, 
yet the spirit of vegetables and animals has 
open passages to escape at, unless it be will- 
ingly detained, in the way of sipping and tast- 
ing them. 

The second article of agreement, that of Pros- 
erpine's remaining six months with her mother 
and six with her husband, is an elegant descrip- 
tion of the division of the year; for the spirit 
diffused through the earth lives above-ground 
in the vegetable world during the summer 
months, but in the winter returns under-ground 

The attempt of Theseus and Perithous to 
bring Proserpine away denotes that the more 
subtile spirits, which descend in many bodies 
to the earth, may frequently be unable to drink 


in, unite with themselves, and carry off the 
subterraneous spirit, but on the contrary be 
coagulated by it, and rise no more, so as to 
increase the inhabitants and add to the domin- 
ion of Proserpine. 

The alchemists will be apt to fall in with our 
interpretation of the golden bough, whether 
we will or no, because they promise golden 
mountains, and the restoration of natural 
bodies from their stone, as from the gates of 
Pluto; but we are well assured that their the- 
ory has no just foundation, and suspect they 
have no very encouraging or practical proofs 
of its soundness. Leaving, therefore, their 
conceits to themselves, we shall freely declare 
our own sentiments upon this last part of the 
fable. We are certain from numerous figures 
and expressions of the ancients, that they 
judge the conservation, and in some degree 
the renovation, of natural bodies to be no des- 
perate or impossible thing, but rather abstruse 
and out of the common road than wholly im- 
practicable. And this seems to be their opin- 
ion in the present case, as they have placed this 
bough among an infinite number of shrubs, in 
a spacious and thick wood. They supposed it 
of gold, because gold is the emblem of dura- 
tion. They feigned it adventitious, not native, 
because such an effect is to be expected from 
art, and not from any medicine or any simple 
or mere natural way of working. 




The ancient poets relate that Jupiter took 
Metis to wife, whose name plainly denotes 
counsel, and that he, perceiving she was preg- 
nant by him, would by no means wait the time 
of her delivery, but directly devoured her; 
whence himself also became pregnant, and 
was delivered in a wonderful manner ; for he 
from his head or brain brought forth Pallas 

Explanation. — This fable, which in its lit- 
eral sense appears monstrously absurd, seems 
to contain a state secret, and shows with what 
art kings usually carry themselves toward their 
council, in order to preserve their own author- 
ity and majesty not only inviolate, but so as to 
have it magnified and heightened among the 
people. For kings commonly link themselves 
as it were in a nuptial bond to their council, 
and deliberate and communicate with them 
after a prudent and laudable custom upon mat- 
ters of the greatest importance, and at the 
same time justly conceiving this no diminution 
of their majesty; but when the matter once 
ripens to a decree or order, which is a kind of 
birth, the king then suffers the council to go 
on no further, lest the act should seem to de- 
pend upon their pleasure. Now, therefore, 
the king usually assumes to himself whatever 
was wrought, elaborated, or formed, as it 
were, in the womb of the council (unless it be 


a matter of an invidious nature, which he is 
sure to put from him), so that the decree and 
the execution shall seem to flow from himself. 
And as this decree or execution proceeds with 
prudence and power, so as to imply necessity, 
it is elegantly wrapped up under the figure of 
Pallas armed. 

Nor are kings content to have this seem the 
effect of their own authority, free will, and 
uncontrollable choice unless they also take the 
whole honor to themselves, and make the peo- 
ple imagine that all good and wholesome 
decrees proceed entirely from their own head, 
that is, their own sole prudence and judgment. 



Introduction. — The fable of the Sirens is, 
in a vulgar sense, justly enough explained of 
the pernicious incentives to pleasure, but the 
ancient mythology seems to us like a vintage 
ill-pressed and trod, for though something has 
been drawn from it, yet all the more excellent 
parts remain behind in the grapes that are 

Fable. — The sirens are said to be the 
daughters of Achelous and Terpsichore, one 
of the Muses. In their early days they had 
wings, but lost them upon being conquered by 
the Muses, with whom they rashly contended: 
and with the feathers of these wings the 
Muses made themselves crowns, so that from 


this time the Muses wore wings on their heads, 
excepting only the mother to the Sirens. 

These Sirens resided in certain pleasant 
islands, and when, from their watch-tower, 
they saw any ship approaching, they first 
detained the sailors by their music, then, 
enticing them to shore, destroyed them. 

Their singing was not of one and the same 
kind, but they adapted their tunes exactly to 
the nature of each person, in order to captivate 
and secure him. And so destructive had 
they been, that these islands of the Sirens 
appeared, to a very great distance, white with 
the bones of their unburied captives. 

Two different remedies were invented to 
protect persons against them, the one by 
Ulysses, the other by Orpheus. Ulysses com- 
manded his associates to stop their ears close 
with wax; and he, determining to make the 
trial, and yet avoid the danger, ordered him- 
self to be tied fast to a mast of the ship, giving 
strict charge not to be unbound, even though 
himself should entreat it; but Orpheus, with- 
out any binding at all, escaped the danger, by 
loudly chanting to his harp the praises of the 
gods, whereby he drowned the voices of the 

Explanation. — This fable is of the moral 
kind, and appears no less elegant than easy to 
interpret. For pleasures proceed from plenty 
and affluence, attended with activity or exulta- 
tion of the mind. Anciently their first incen- 
tives were quick, and seized upon the men as 


if they had been winged, but learning and 
philosophy afterward prevailing, had at least 
the power to lay the mind under some re- 
straint, and make it consider the issue of 
things, and thus deprived pleasures of their 

This conquest redounded greatly to the 
honor and ornaments of the Muses; for after 
it appeared, by the example of a few, that 
philosophy could introduce a contempt of 
pleasures, it immediately seemed to be a sub- 
lime thing that could raise and elevate the 
soul, fixed in a manner down to the earth, and 
thus render men's thoughts, which reside in 
the head, winged as it were, or sublime. 

Only the mother of the Sirens was not thus 
plumed on the head, which doubtless denotes 
superficial learning, invented and used for 
delight and levity; an eminent example 
whereof we have in Petronius, who, after re- 
ceiving sentence of death, still continued his 
gay frothy humor, and, as Tacitus observes, 
used his learning to solace or divert himself, 
and instead of such discourses as give firmness 
and constancy of mind, read nothing but loose 
poems and verses. Such learning as this seems 
to pluck the crowns again from the Muses' 
heads, and restore them to the Sirens. 

The Sirens are said to inhabit certain islands, 
because pleasures generally seek retirement, 
and often shun society. And for their songs, 
with the manifold artifice and destructiveness 
thereof, this is too obvious and common to 
need explanation. But that particular of the 


bones stretching like white cliffs along the 
shores and appearing afar off contains a more 
subtile allegory, and denotes that the examples 
of others' calamity and misfortunes, though 
ever so manifest and apparent, have yet but 
little force to deter the corrupt nature of man 
from pleasures. 

The allegory of the remedies against the 
Sirens is not difficult, but very wise and noble: 
it proposes, in effect, three remedies, as well 
against subtile as violent mischiefs, two drawn 
from philosophy and one from religion. 

The first means of escaping is to resist the 
earliest temptations in the beginning, and dil- 
igently avoid and cut off all occasions that may 
solicit or sway the mind ; and this is well rep- 
resented by shutting up the ears, a kind of rem- 
edy to be necessarily used with mean and vul- 
gar minds, such as the retinue of Ulysses. 

But nobler spirits may converse, even in the 
midst of pleasures, if the mind be well guarded 
with constancy and resolution. And thus some 
delight to make a severe trial of their own vir- 
tue, and thoroughly acquaint themselves with 
the folly and madness of pleasures, without 
complying or being wholly given up to them ; 
which is what Solomon professes of himself 
when he closes the account of all the numerous 
pleasures he gave a loose to with this expres- 
sion, "But wisdom still continued with me." 
Such heroes in virtue may, therefore, remain 
unmoved by the greatest incentives to pleas- 
ure, and stop themselves on the very precipice 
of danger; if, according to the example of 


Ulysses, they turn a deaf ear to pernicious 
counsel, and the flatteries of their friends and 
companions, which have the greatest power to 
shake and unsettle the mind. 

But the most excellent remedy, in every 
temptation, is that of Orpheus, who, by loudly 
chanting and resounding the praises of the 
gods, confounded the voices and kept himself 
from hearing the music of the Sirens; for 
divine contemplations exceed the pleasures of 
sense, not only in power, but also in sweetness. 



Queen Elizabeth, the morrow of her corona- 
tion (it being the custom to release prisoners at 
the inauguration of a prince), went to the 
chapel; and in the great chamber, one of her 
courtiers, who was well known to her, either 
out of his motion, or by the instigation of a 
wiser man, presented her with a petition; and 
before a great number of courtiers, besought 
her with a loud voice, that now this good time, 
there might be four or five principal prisoners 
more released; those were the four evangelists 
and the apostle St. Paul, who had been long 
shut up in an unknown tongue, as it were in 
prison; so as they could not converse with the 
common people. The queen answered very 
gravely, that it was best first to inquire of 
them, whether they would be released or no. 

Queen Ann Bullen, at the time when she 
was led to be beheaded in the Tower, called 
one of the king's privy chamber to her, and 
said unto him, " Commend me to the king, and 
tell him, that he hath ever been constant in his 
course of advancing me ; from a private gen- 
tlewoman he made me a marchioness ; and from 
a marchioness a queen; and now, that he hath 



left no higher degree of earthly honor, he in- 
tends to crown my innocency with the glory 
of martyrdom. ' ' 

A great officer in France was in danger to 
have lost his place ; but his wife by her suit and 
means-making, made his peace; whereupon a 
pleasant fellow said, that he had been crushed, 
but that he saved himself upon his horns. 

When the archduke did raise his siege from 
the Grave, the then secretary came to Queen 
Elizabeth. The queen (having first intelli- 
gence thereof) said to the secretary, "Wote you 
that the archduke is risen from the Grave?" 
He answered, "What, without the trumpet of 
the archangel?" The queen replied, "Yes; 
without sound of trumpet." 

The council did make remonstrance unto 
Queen Elizabeth of the continual conspiracies 
against her life ; and, namely, that a man was 
lately taken, who stood ready in a very dan- 
gerous and suspicious manner to do the deed ; 
and they showed her the weapon wherewith 
he thought to have acted it. And, therefore, 
they advised her, that she should go less 
abroad to take the air, weakly attended, as 
she used. But the queen answered, that she 
had rather be dead than put in custody. 

Henry the Fourth of France his queen was 
young with child; Count Soissons, that had his 
expectation upon the crown, when it was twice 
or thrice thought that the queen was with child 


before, said to some of his friends, that it was 
but with a pillow. This had some ways come 
to the king's ear; who kept it till such time as 
the queen waxed great: then he called the 
Count of Soissons to him, and said, laying his 
hand upon his queen's belly, "Come, cousin, 
is this a pillow?" The Count of Soissons 
answered, "Yes, sire, it is a pillow for all 
France to sleep upon. " 

Queen Elizabeth was wont to say, upon the 
commission of sales, that the commissioners 
used her like strawberry wives, that layed two 
or three great strawberries at the mouth of their 
pot, and all the rest were little ones; so they 
made her two or three good prizes of the first 
particulars, but fell straightways. 

Queen Elizabeth used to say of her instruc- 
tions to great officers, that they were like to 
garments, strait at the first putting on, but did 
by and by wear easy enough. 

A great officer at court, when my lord of 
Essex was first in trouble ; and that he, and 
those that dealt for him, would talk much of 
my lord's friends, and of his enemies, answered 
to one of them: "I will tell you, I know but 
one friend and one enemy my lord hath; and 
that one friend is the queen, and that one enemy 
is himself. " 

The book of deposing King Richard the 
Second, and the coming in of Henry the Fourth, 


supposed to be written by Dr. Hayward, who 
was committed to the Tower for it, had much 
incensed Queen Elizabeth, and she asked Mr. 
Bacon, being then of her counsel learned, 
whether there were any treason contained in it? 
Who tending to do him a pleasure, and to take 
off the queen's bitterness with a merry conceit, 
answered, "No, madam, for treason I cannot 
deliver an opinion that there is any, but very 
much felony." The queen apprehending it 
gladly, asked, how; and wherein? Mr. Bacon 
answered, "Because he had stolen many of his 
sentences and conceits out of Cornelius Taci- 

Queen Elizabeth was dilatory enough in 
suits, of her own nature; and the lord treas- 
urer Burleigh being a wise man, and willing 
therein to feed her humor, would say to her, 
"Madam, you do well to let suitors stay; for I 
shall tell you, bis dat, qui cito dat; if you grant 
them speedily, they will come again the 

Sir Nicholas Bacon, who was keeper of the 
great seal of England, when Queen Elizabeth, 
in her progress, came to his house at Gorham- 
bury, and said to him, "My lord, what a little 
house have you gotten!" answered her, 
"Madam, my house is well; but it is you that 
have made me too great for my house. " 

The lord-keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon was 
asked his opinion by Queen Elizabeth, of one 


of these monopoly licenses. And he answered, 
4 'Madam, will you have me speak the truth? 
Licentia omnes deteriores sumus?" — we are 
all the worse for licenses. 

My lord of Essex at the succor of Rouen, 
made twenty-four knights, which at that time 
was a great number. Divers of those gentle- 
men were of weak and small means; which, 
when Queen Elizabeth heard, she said, "My 
lord might have done well to have built his 
almshouse, before he made his knights. " 

The deputies of the reformed religion, after 
the massacre which was at Paris upon St. Bar- 
tholomew's day, treated with the king and 
queen-mother, and some other of the council, 
for a peace. Both sides were agreed upon the 
articles. The question was, upon the security 
for the performance. After some particulars 
propounded and rejected, the queen-mother 
said, "Why is not the word of a king sufficient 
security?' ' One of the deputies answered, 
"No, by St. Bartholomew, madam." 

When peace was renewed with the French 
in England divers of the great counselors 
were presented from the French with jewels; 
the Lord Henry Howard, being then Earl of 
Nottingham and a counselor, was omitted. 
Whereupon the king said to him, "My lord, 
how happens it that you have not a jewel as 
well as the rest?" My lord answered, accord- 
ing to the fable in yEsop, "Non sum gallus, 
itaque non reperi gemmam," 


There was a minister deprived for noncon- 
formity, who said to some of his friends, that 
if they deprived him, it should cost a hundred 
men's lives. The party understood it, as being 
a turbulent fellow, he would have moved sedi- 
tion, and complained of him ; whereupon being 
convented and opposed upon that speech, he 
said his meaning was, that if he lost his bene- 
fice, he would practice physic, and then he 
thought he should kill a hundred men in time. 

Secretary Bourn's son kept a gentleman's 
wife in Shropshire, who lived from her hus- 
band with him ; when he was weary of her, he 
caused her husband to be dealt with to take 
her home, and offered him five hundred pounds 
for reparation ; the gentleman went to Sir H. 
Sidney, to take his advice upon this offer, tell- 
ing him that his wife promised now a new life; 
and to tell him truth, five hundred pounds 
would come well with him. "By my truth," 
said Sir Henry Sidney, "take her home and 
take the money: then whereas other cuckolds 
wear their horns plain, vou may wear yours 

When Rabelais, the great jester of France, 
lay on his death-bed, and they gave him the 
extreme unction, a familiar friend of his came 
to him afterward, and asked him how he did. 
Rabelais answered, "Even going my journey, 
they have greased my boots already." 

Thales, as he looked upon the stars, fell into 


the water ; whereupon it was after said, that if 
he had looked into the water, he might have 
seen the stars; but looking- up to the stars he 
could not see the water. 

Master Mason, of Trinity College, sent his 
pupil to another of the fellows, to borrow a 
book of him, who told him, t4 I am loth 
to lend my books out of my chamber; but 
if it pleases thy tutor to come and read it 
here, he shall as long as he will." It was 
winter, and some days after the same fellow 
sent to Mr. Mason to borrow his bellows ; but 
Mr. Mason said, "I am loth to lend my bel- 
lows out of my chamber; but if thy tutor 
would come and use it here, he shall as long 
as he wiH." 

In Flanders, by accident, a Flemish tiler fell 
from the top of a house upon a Spaniard, and 
killed him, though he escaped himself; the 
next of the blood prosecuted his death with 
great violence, and when he was offered pecu- 
niary recompense, nothing would serve him 
but lex talionis; whereupon the judge said to 
him, that if he did urge that sentence, it must 
be, that he should go up to the top of the house, 
and then fall down upon the tiler. 

There was a young man in Rome, that was 
very like Augustus Caesar; Augustus took 
knowledge of him, and sent for the man, and 
and asked him, "was your mother never at 
Rome?" He answered, "No, sir, but my 
father was." 

23 Bacon 


Agesilaus, when one told him there was one 
did excellently counterfeit a nightingale, and 
would have had him heard him, said, "Why, 
I have heard the nightingale herself." 

There was a captain sent to an exploit by 
his general with forces that were not likely to 
achieve the enterprise; the captain said to 
him, "Sir, appoint but half so many. " 
"Why?" saith the general. The captain an- 
swered, "Because it is better that few die than 

There was a harbinger who had lodged a 
gentleman in a very ill room, who expostulated 
with him somewhat rudely; but the harbinger 
carelessly said, "You will reap pleasure from 
it when you are out of it. M 

There is a Spanish adage, "Love without 
end hath no end;" meaning, that if it were 
begun not upon particular ends it would last. 

A company of scholars going together to 
catch conies, carried one scholar with them, 
which had not much more wit than he was 
born with ; and to him they gave in charge that 
if he saw any, he should be silent, for fear of 
scaring them. But he no sooner espied a com- 
pany of rabbits before the rest, but he cried 
aloud, "Eccemulticuniculi," which in English 
signifies, behold many conies; which he had 
no sooner said, but the conies ran to their bur- 
rows; and he being checked by them for it an- 


swered, "Who the devil would have thought 
that the rabbits understood Latin?" 

Solon compared the people unto the sea, and 
orators and counselors to the winds ; for that 
the sea would be calm and quiet, if the winds 
did not trouble it. 

A man being very jealous of his wife, inso- 
much that which way soever she went, he 
would be prying at her heels; and she being 
so grieved thereat, in plain terms told him, that 
if he did not for the future leave off his pro- 
ceedings in that nature, she would graft such 
a pair of horns upon his head, that should hin- 
der him from coming out of any door in the 

A tinker passing Cheapside with his usual 
tone, "Have you any work for a tinker?" an 
apprentice standing at a door opposite to a pil- 
lor there set up, called the tinker, with an in- 
tent to put a jest upon him, and told him, that 
he should do very well if he would stop those 
two holes in the pillory; to which the tinker 
answered, that if he would put his head and 
ears a while in that pillory, he would bestow 
both brass and nails upon him to hold him in, 
and give him his labor into the bargain. 

Whitehead, a grave divine, was much 
esteemed by Queen Elizabeth, but not pre- 
ferred, because he was against the government 
of bishops: he was of a blunt stoical nature ; 


he came one day to the queen, and the queen 
happened to say to. him, "I like thee the bet- 
ter, Whitehead, because thou livest unmar- 
ried!" He answered, "In troth, madam, I 
like you the worse for the same cause." 

Doctor Laud said, that some hypocrites, and 
seeming mortified men, that held down their 
heads like bulrushes, were like the little 
images that they place in the very bowing of 
the vaults of churches, that look as if they held 
up the church, but are but puppets. 

There was a lady of the west country, that 
gave great entertainment at her house to most 
of the gallant gentlemen thereabouts, and 
among others, Sir Walter Raleigh was one. 
This lady, though otherwise a stately dame, 
was a notable good housewife; and in the 
morning betimes, she called to one of her 
maids, that looked to the swine, and asked, 
"Are the pigs served?" Sir Walter Raleigh's 
chamber was fast by the lady's, so as he heard 
her; a little before dinner, the lady came down 
in great state into the great chamber, which 
was full of gentlemen: and as soon as Sir 
W alter set eye upon her, "Madam," said he, 
"are the pigs served?" The lady answered, 
"You know best whether you have had your 

There were fishermen drawing the river at 
Chelsea; Mr. Bacon came thither by chance in 
the afternoon, and offered to buy their draught ; 


they were willing. He asked them what they 
would take? They asked thirty shillings. 
Mr. Bacon offered them ten. They refused it. 
44 Why, then," saith Mr. Bacon, "I will be only 
a looker on." They drew, and caught nothing. 
Saith Mr. Bacon, 44 Are not you mad fellows 
now, that might have had an angel in your 
purse, to have made merry withal, and to have 
warmed you thoroughly, and now you must go 
home with nothing?" "Aye, but," saith the 
fisherman, "we had hope then to make a bet- 
ter gain of it." Saith Mr. Bacon, "Well, my 
master, then I'll tell you, hope is a good break- 
fast, but it is a bad supper." 

Mr. Bacon, after he had been vehement in 
Parliament against depopulation and inclosures; 
and that soon after the queen told him, that she 
had referred the hearing of Mr. Mill's cause to 
certain counselors and judges; and asked him 
how he liked of it? answered, 44 0h, Madam! my 
mind is known; I am against all inclosures, 
and especially against inclosed justice." 

When Sir Nicholas Bacon, the lord-keeper, 
lived, every room in Gorhambury was served 
with a pipe of water from the ponds, distant 
about a mile off. In the lifetime of Mr. An- 
thony Bacon, the water ceased. After whose 
death, his lordship coming to the inheritance, 
could not recover the water without infinite 
charge; when he was lord chancelor he built 
Verulam House, close by the pond-yard, for 
a place of privacy, when he was called upon to 


dispatch any urgent business. And being* 
asked why he built that house there, his lord- 
ship answered that since he could not carry 
the water to his house he would carry his 
house to the water. 

Zelim was the first of the Ottomans that did 
shave his beard, whereas his predecessors 
wore it long. One of his bashaws asked him 
why he altered the custom of his predeces- 
sors? He answered: M Because you bashaws 
may not lead me by the beard as you did 

Charles, king of Sweden, a great enemy of 
the Jesuits, when he took any of their col- 
leges, he would hang the old Jesuits and put 
the young to his mines, saying, that since they 
wrought so hard above ground he would try 
how they could work under ground. 

In chancery, at one time when the counsel of 
the parties set forth the boundaries of the land 
in question, by the plot ; and the counsel of one 
part said, "We lie on this side, my lord;" and 
the counsel of the other part said, "And we 
lie on this side:" the lord chancelor Hatton 
stood up and said, "If you lie on both sides, 
whom will you have me to believe?" 

Sir Thomas More had only daughters, at the 
first, and his wife did ever pray for a boy. At 
last she had a boy, which, being come to man's 
estate, proved but simple. Sir Thomas said to 


his wife, "Thou prayedst so long for a boy 
that he will be a boy as long as he lives." 

Sir Thomas More, on the day that he was 
beheaded, had a barber sent to him, because 
his hair was long; which was thought would 
make him more commiserated with the people. 
The barber came to him, and asked him 
whether he would be pleased to be trimmed? 
"In good faith, honest fellow," saith Sir 
Thomas, "the king and I have a suit for my 
head: and till the title be cleared, I will do 
no cost upon it." 

Mr. Bettenham said that virtuous men were 
like some herbs and spices that give not out 
their sweet smell till they be broken or 

There was a painter become a physician, 
whereupon one said to him: "You have done 
well; for before, the faults of your work were 
seen, but now they are unseen." 

There was a gentleman that came to the tilt 
all in orange-tawny, and ran very ill. The 
next day he came again all in green, and ran 
worse. There was one of the lookers-on 
asked another, "What is the reason that this 
gentleman changeth his colors?" The other 
answered, "Sure, because it may be reported 
that the gentleman in the green ran worse 
than the gentleman in the orange-tawny." 


Sir Thomas More had sent him by a suitor 
in chancery two silver flagons. When they 
were presented by the gentleman's servant, 
he said to one of his men, "Have him to the 
cellar, and let him have of my best wine:" 
and turning to the servant, said, "Tell thy 
master, if he like it, let him not spare it. " 

Michael Angelo, the famous painter, paint- 
ing in the pope's chapel the portraiture of hell 
and damned souls, made one of the damned 
souls so like a cardinal that was his enemy, as 
everybody at first sight knew it. Whereupon 
the cardinal complained to Pope Clement, 
humbly praying it might be defaced. The 
pope said to him, "Why, you know very well 
I have power to deliver a soul out of purga- 
tory, but not out of hell." 

Sir Nicholas Bacon, when a certain nimble- 
witted counselor at the bar, who was forward 
to speak, did interrupt him often, said unto 
him, "There's a great difference betwixt you 
and me: a pain to me to speak, and a pain to 
you to hold your peace." 

The same Sir Nicholas Bacon, upon bills 
exhibited to discover where lands lay, upon 
proof that they had a certain quantity of land, 
but could not set it forth, was wont to say, 
"And if you cannot find your land in the 
country, how will you have me find it in chan- 


There was a king of Hungary took a bishop 
in battle, and kept him prisoner; whereupon 
the pope writ a monitory to him, for that he 
had broken the privilege of holy church, and 
taken his son. The king sent an embassage to 
him, and sent withal the armor wherein the 
bishop was taken, and this only in writing, 
"Vide num haec sit vestis filii tui" — Know 
now whether this be thy son's coat. 

Sir Amyas Pawlet, when he saw too much 
haste made in any matter, was wont to say, 
44 Stay a while, that we may make an end the 
sooner. ' ' 

A master of the request to Queen Elizabeth 
had divers times moved for an audience, and 
been put off. At last he came to the queen 
in a progress, and had on a new pair of boots. 
The queen, who loved not the smell of new 
leather, said to him, "Fie, sloven, thy new 
boots stink." <4 Madam," said he, 44 it is not 
my new boots that stink, but it is the stale 
bills that I have kept so long." 

Queen Isabella of Spain used to say, whoso- 
ever hath a good presence and a good fashion, 
carries continual letters of recommendation. 

It was said of Augustus, and afterward the 
like was said of Septimus Severus, both which 
did infinite mischief in their beginnings, and 
infinite good toward their ends, that they 
should either have never been born or never 

24 Bacon 


Constantine the Great, in a kind of envy, 
himself being a great builder, as Trajan like- 
wise was, would call Trajan parietaria — wall- 
flower, because his name was upon so many 

Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester, in a 
famine, sold all the rich vessels and orna- 
ments of the church to relieve the poor with 
bread; and said: " There was no reason that 
the dead temples of God 'should be sumptu- 
ously furnished, and the living temples suffer 

After a great fight there came to the camp 
of Gonsalvo, the great captain, a gentleman 
proudly horsed and armed ; Diego de Mendoza, 
asked the great captain, "Who's this?" Who 
answered, 4t It is St. Ermin, who never appears 
but after a storm." 

There was one that died greatly in debt; 
when it was reported in some company, where 
divers of his creditors casually were, that he 
was dead; one began to say, "Well, if he be 
gone, then he hath carried five hundred ducats 
of mine with him into the other world," and 
another said, "And two hundred of mine;" 
and the third spake of great sums of his. 
Whereupon, one that was among them, said, 
"I perceive now, that though a man cannot 
carry any of his own with him into the next 
world, yet he may carry away that which 
is another man's." 


Bresquet, jester to Francis the First of 
France, did keep a calendar of fools, where- 
with he did use to make the king sport; telling 
him ever the reason why he put any one into 
his calendar. When Charles the Fifth, em- 
peror, upon confidence of the noble nature of 
Francis, passed through France, for the ap- 
peasing of the rebellion of Gaunt, Bresquet 
put him into his calendar. The king asked 
him the cause. He answered, "Because you 
have suffered at the hands of Charles the 
greatest bitterness that ever prince did from 
another, nevertheless he would trust his per- 
son into your hands. M "Why, Bresquet,' ' said 
the king, "what wilt thou say, if thou seest 
him pass back in as great safety, as if he 
marched through the midst of Spain?" Saith 
Bresquet, "Why then I will put him out, and 
put in you." 

When my lord president of the council came 
first to be lord treasurer, he complained to my 
lord chancelor of the troublesomeness of the 
place, for that the exchequer was so empty. 
The lord chancelor answered, "My lord, be of 
good cheer ; for now you shall see the bottom 
of your business at the first." 

Rabelais tells a tale of one that was very 
fortunate in compounding differences. His 
son undertook the said course, but could never 
compound any. Whereupon he came to his 
father, and asked him, what art he had to 
reconcile differences? He answered, he had 


no other but this: to watch when the two 
parties were much wearied and their hearts 
were too great to seek reconcilement at one 
another's hand; then to be a means between 
them, and upon no other terms. After which 
the son went home, and prospered in the same 

Alonso Cartilio w T as informed by his steward 
of the greatness of his expense, being such as 
he could not hold out therewith. The bishop 
asked him, wherein it chiefly arose? His 
steward told him, in the multitude of his 
servants. The bishop bade him to make him 
a note of those that were necessary, and those 
that might be spared. Which he did. And 
the bishop taking occasion to read it before 
most of his servants, said to his steward, 
44 Well, let these remain, because I have need 
of them ; and these others also, because they 
have need of me. ' ' 

Mr. Bettenham, reader of Gray's-Inn, used 
to say, that riches were like muck; when it lay 
upon a heap, it gave but a stench, and ill-odor; 
but when it was spread over the ground, then 
it was cause of much fruit. 

Galba succeeded Nero, and his age being 
despised, there was much license and con- 
fusion in Rome during his empire ; whereupon 
a senator said in full senate, it were better to 
live where nothing is lawful, than where all 
things are lawful. 


Chilon said, that kings' friends and favorites 
were like casting counters; that sometimes 
stood for one, sometimes for ten, sometimes 
for a hundred. 

Diogenes begging, as divers philosophers 
then used, did beg more of a prodigal man than 
of the rest which were present. Whereupon 
one said to him, "See your baseness, that 
when you find a liberal mind, you will take 
most of him. " "No, " said Diogenes, "but I 
mean to beg of the rest again. " 

Themistocles, when an ambassador from a 
mean estate did speak great matters, said to 
him, "Friend, thv words would require a 

Caesar Borgia, after long division between 
him and the lords of Romagna, fell to accord 
with them. In this accord there was an article 
that he should not call them at any time all 
together in person. The meaning was, that 
knowing his dangerous nature, if he meant 
them treason, he might have opportunity to 
oppress them altogether at once. Neverthe- 
less, he used such fine art, and fair carriage, 
that he won their confidence to meet all 
together in council at Cinigaglia, where he 
murdered them all. This act, when it was 
related unto Pope Alexander, his father, by a 
cardinal, as a thing happy, but very perfidi- 
ous, the pope said, "It was they that broke 
their covenant first, in coming all together." 


Clodius was acquitted by a corrupt jury, that 
had palpably taken shares of money before 
they gave their verdict; they prayed of the 
senate a guard, that they might do their con- 
sciences, for that Clodius was a very seditious 
young nobleman. Whereupon all the world 
gave him for condemned. But acquitted he 
was. Catulus, the next day seeing some of 
them that had acquitted him together, said to 
them, "What made you ask of us a guard? 
Were you afraid your money should have been 
taken from you?" 

At the same judgment, Cicero gave in evi- 
dence upon oath; and when the jury, which 
consisted of fifty-seven, had passed against his 
evidence, one day in the senate Cicero and 
Clodius being in altercation, Clodius upbraided 
him, and said, "The jury gave you no credit. " 
Cicero answered, "Five and twenty gave me 
credit; but there were two and thirty that 
gave you no credit, for they had their money 
beforehand. " 

Diogenes having seen that the kingdom of 
Macedon, which before was contemptible and 
low, began to come aloft, when he died, was 
asked how he would be buried? He answered, 
"With my face downward; for within a while 
the world will be turned upside down, and 
then I shall lie right. M 

Cato the elder was wont to say, that the 
Romans were like sheep; a man could better 
drive a flock of them, than one of them. 


When Lycurgus was to reform and alter the 
state of Sparta; in consultation, one advised, 
that it should be reduced to an absolute pop- 
ular equality; but Lycurgus said to him, "Sir, 
begin it in your own house/' 

Bion, that was an atheist, was showed in a 
port city, in a temple of Neptune, many tables 
of pictures of such as had in tempests made 
their vows to Neptune, and were saved from 
shipwreck: and was asked, "How say you now? 
Do you not acknowledge the power of the 
gods?" But saith he, "Ay; but where are 
they painted that have been drowned after 
their vows?" 

Cicero was at dinner, where there was an 
ancient lady that spake of her own years, and 
said, she was but forty years old. One that 
sat by Cicero sounded him in the ear and said, 
"She talks of forty years old; but she is far 
more, out of question." Cicero answered him 
again, "I must believe her; for I have heard 
her say so many times these ten years." 

There was a soldier that vaunted before 
Julius Caesar of the hurts he had received in 
his face. Julius Caesar, knowing him to be 
but a coward, told him, "You were best take 
heed next time you run away, how you look 

Vespasian asked of Apollonius what was the 
cause of Nero's ruin? Who answered, "Nero 


could tune the harp well, but in government 
he did always wind up the strings too high, or 
let them down too low. " 

Antisthenes being asked of one, what learn- 
ing was most necessary for man's life, an- 
swered, "To unlearn that which is nought. " 

Diogenes, when mice came about him, as he 
was eating, said, "I see that even Diogenes 
nourisheth parasites. ' ' 

Heraclitus the obscure said, "The dry light 
is the best soul;" meaning, when the faculties 
intellectual are in vigor, not drenched, or as it 
were blooded by the affections. 

One of the philosophers was asked, in what a 
wise man differed from a fool. He answered, 
"Send them both naked to those that know 
them not, and you shall perceive." 

There was a law made by the Romans 
against the bribery and extortion of the gov- 
ernors of provinces. Cicero saith, in a speech of 
his to the people, that he thought the prov- 
inces would petition to the state of Rome to 
have that law repealed. "For," saith he, 
"before the governors did bribe and extort as 
much as was sufficient for themselves; but 
now they bribe and extort as much as may be 
enough, not only for themselves, but for the 
judges and jurors, and magistrates." 


Aristippus sailing in a tempest, showed signs 
of fear. One of the seamen said to him, in an 
insulting manner, u We that are plebeians are 
not troubled ; you that are a philosopher are 
afraid." Aristippus answered, that " There is 
not the like wager upon it, for you to perish 
and for me. ' ' 

It fell out so, that as Livia went abroad in 
Rome, there met her naked young men that 
were sporting in the streets, which Augustus 
went about severely to punish in them ; but 
Livia spake for them, and said, "It was no 
more to chaste women, than so many statues." 

Philip of Macedon was wished to banish one 
for speaking ill of him. But Philip answered, 
"Better he speak where we are both known 
than where we are both unknown." 

Lucullus entertained Pompey in one of his 
magnificent houses; Pompey said, "This is a 
marvelous fair and stately house for the sum- 
mer; but methinks it should be very cold for 
winter/ ' Lucullus answered, "Do you not 
think me as wise as divers fowls are, to 
change my habitation in the winter season?" 

Plato entertained some of his friends at a 
dinner, and had in the chamber a bed, or 
couch, neatly and costly furnished. Diogenes 
came in, and got up upon the bed, and tram- 
pled it, saying, "I trample upon the pride of 
Plato." Plato mildly answered, "But with 
greater pride, Diogenes." 

24 Bacon 


Pompey being commissioner for sending 
grain to Rome in time of dearth, when he 
came to the sea, found it very tempestuous 
and dangerous, insomuch as those about him 
advised him by no means to embark; but 
Pompey said, "It is of necessity that I go, not 
that Hive." 

Demosthenes was upbraided by ^Eschines 
that his speeches did smell of the lamp. But 
Demosthenes said, "Indeed, there is a great 
deal of difference between that which you and 
I do by lamp-light. ' * 

Demades the orator, in his age, was talka- 
tive, and would eat hard: Antipater would say 
of him, that he was like a sacrifice, that noth- 
ing was left of it but the tongue and the 

Philo Judaeus saith, that the sense is like the 
sun ; for the sun seals up the globe of heaven 
and opens the globe of earth; so the sense 
doth obscure heavenly things and reveals 
earthly things. 

Alexander, after the battle of Granicum, had 
very great offers made him by Darius; consult- 
ing with his captains concerning them, Par- 
menio said, "Sure, I would accept of these 
offers if I were as Alexander. " Alexander 
answered, "So would I if I were as Parmenio. " 

Augustus Caesar would say, that he won- 
dered that Alexander feared he should want 


work, having no more worlds to conquer, as if 
it were not as hard a matter to keep as to 

Antigonus, when it was told him that the 
enemy had such volleys of arrows that they 
did hide the sun, said, "That falls out well, 
for it is hot weather, and so we shall fight in 
the shade. " 

Cato the elder, being aged, buried his wife, 
and married a young woman. His son came 
to him, and said, "Sir, what have I offended, 
that you have brought a step-mother into your 
house?" The old man answered, "Nay, quite 
contrary, son ; thou pleaseth me so well, as I 
should be glad to have much more such." 

Crassus the orator had a fish which the Ro- 
mans call Muraena, that he made very tame 
and fond of him; the fish died, and Crassus 
wept for it. One day, falling in contention 
with Domitius in the senate, Domitius said, 
"Foolish Crassus, you wept for your Muraena. " 
Crassus replied, "That's more than you did 
for your two wives. " 

Philip Alexander's father, gave sentence 
against a prisoner what time he was drowsy, 
and seemed to give small attention. The pris- 
oner, after sentence was pronounced, said, "I 
appeal." The king, somewhat stirred, said, 
"To whom do you appeal?" The prisoner 
answered, "From Philip when he gave no ear 
to Philip when he shall give ear." 


There was a philosopher that disputed with 
Adrian the emperor, and did it but weakly. 
One of his friends that stood by, afterward 
said to him, "Methinks you were not like 
yourself last day, in argument with the em- 
peror; I could have answered better myself." 
"Why," said the philosopher, "would you have 
me contend with him that commands thirty 

When Alexander passed into Asia, he gave 
large donations to his captains and other prin- 
cipal men of virtue; insomuch as Parmenio 
asked him, "Sir, what do you keep for your- 
self?" He answered, "Hope. " 

There was one that found a great mass of 
money digged underground in his grand- 
father's house, and being somewhat doubtful 
of the case, signified it to the emperor, that he 
had found such treasure. The emperor, made 
a rescript thus: "Use it." He writ back again, 
that the sum was greater than his state or con- 
dition could use. The emperor writ a new 
rescript, thus: "Abuse it." 

Julius Caesar, as he passed by, was, by accla- 
mation of some that stood in the way, termed 
king, to try how the people would take it. The 
people showed great murmur and distaste at 
it. Caesar finding where the wind stood, 
slighted it, and said, "I am not king, but 
Caesar;" as if they had mistaken his name; 
for rex was a surname among the Romans, as 
king is with us. 


When Croesus, for his glory, showed Solon 
his great treasures of gold, Solon said to him, 
44 If another king come that hath better iron 
than you, he will be master of all this gold." 

Aristippus, being reprehended of luxury, by 
one that was not rich, for that he gave six 
crowns for a small fish, answered, 44 Why, what 
would you have given?" The other said, 
4 * Some twelve pence." Aristippus said again, 
44 And six crowns is no more with me." 

Plato reprehended severely a young man for 
entering into a dissolute house. The young 
man said to him, 44 Why do you reprehend so 
sharply for so small a matter?" Plato replied, 
44 But custom is no small matter." 

, Archidamus, king of Lacedaemon, having 
received from Philip, king of Macedon (after 
Philip had won the victory of Chaeronea, upon 
the Athenians), proud letters, writ back to 
him, that if he measured his own shadow, he 
would find it no longer than it was before his 

Pyrrhus, when his friends congratulated to 
him his victory over the Romans, under the 
conduct of Fabricius, but with great slaughter 
of his own side, said to them again, 44 Yes, but 
if we have such another victory, we are un- 

Plato was wont to say of his master Socrates, 
that he was like the apothecaries' gallipots, 


that had on the outside apes, owls, and satyrs, 
but within, precious drugs. 

Alexander sent to Phocion a great present 
of money. Phocion said to the messenger, 
44 Why doth the king send to me, and to none 
else?" The messenger answered, "Because 
he takes you to be the only good man in 
Athens. " Phocion replied, " If he thinks so,. 
pray let him suffer me to be so still." 

At a banquet, where those that were called 
the seven wise men of Greece were invited by 
the ambassador of a barbarous king, the ambas- 
sador related, that there was a neighbor 
mightier than his master, who picked quarrels 
with him, by making impossible demands; 
otherwise threatening war; and now at that 
present had demanded of him to drink up the 
sea. Whereunto one of the wise men said, 
" I would have him undertake it." "Why," 
said the ambassador, "how shall he come off?" 
"Thus," saith the wise man; "let the king first 
stop the rivers which run into the sea, which 
are no part of the bargain, and then your mas- 
ter will perform it." 

Hanno the Carthaginian was sent commis- 
sioner by the state, after the second Cartha- 
ginian war, to supplicate for peace, and in the 
end obtained it ; yet one of the sharper sena- 
tors said, "You have often broken with us the 
peace, whereunto you have sworn ; I pray, by 
what god will you swear?" Hanno answered, 


44 By the same gods that punished the former 
perjury so severely." 

One of the seven was wont to say, that laws 
were like cobwebs, where the small flies were 
caught, and the great brake through. 

Louis the Eleventh of France, having much 
abated the p^eatness and power of the peers, 
nobility, and court of parliament, would say, 
that he had brought the crown out of ward. 

There was a cowardly Spanish soldier, that 
in a defeat that the Moors gave, ran away with 
the foremost. Afterward, when the army 
generally fled, this soldier was missing. 
Whereupon it was said by some, that he was 
slain. 44 No, sure," said one, * 4 he is alive; for 
the Moors eat no hare's flesh." 

One was saying that his great-grandfather, 
and grandfather, and father, died at sea. Said 
an officer, that heard him, 4i And I were as you, 
I would never come at sea." "Why," said he, 
44 where did your great-grandfather, and grand- 
father, and father die?" He answered, 
44 Where, but in their beds?" He answered, 
44 And I were as you, I would never come in 

There was a dispute, whether great heads or 
little heads had the better wit? And one said, 
44 It must needs be the little; for that it is a 
maxim, "Omne majus continet in se minus." 


Sir Thomas More, when the counsel of the 
party pressed him for a longer day to perform 
the decree, said, "Take St. Barnaby's day, 
which is the longest day in the year/' Now, 
St. Barnaby's day was within a few days fol- 

There was an Epicurean vaunted that divers 
of other sects of philosophers did after turn 
Epicureans; but there was never any Epicu- 
reans that turned to any other sect. Where- 
upon a philosopher, that was of another sect, 
said, the reason was plain, for that cocks may 
be made capons; but capons could never be 
made cocks. 

Chilon would say, that gold was tried with 
the touchstone, and men with gold. 

Mr. Popham (afterward Lord Chief Justice 
Popham), when he was speaker, and the House 
of Commons had sat long, and done in effect 
nothing, coming one day to Queen Elizabeth, 
she said to him, "Now, Mr. Speaker, what hath 
passed in the Commons House?" He an- 
swered, "If it please your Majesty, seven 
weeks. ' ' 

Themistocles, in his lower fortune, was in 
love with a young gentleman who scorned him ; 
but when he grew to his greatness, which was 
soon after, he sought him : Themistocles said, 
"We are both grown wise, but too late. " 

Aristippus was earnest suitor to Dionysius 
for some grant, who would give no ear to his 


suit. Aristippus fell at his feet, and then 
Dionysius granted it. One that stood by said 
afterward to Aristippus, "You, a philosopher, 
and be so base as to throw yourself at the 
tyrant's feet to get a suit!" Aristippus an- 
swered, "The fault is not mine; but the fault 
is in Dionysius, that carries his ears in his 

Solon being asked, whether he had given the 
Atheians the best laws, answered, "The best 
of those that they would have received/' 

One said to Aristippus, " 'Tis a strange 
thing, why men should rather give to the poor, 
than to philosophers." He answered, "Be- 
cause they think themselves may sooner come 
to be poor, than to be philosophers." 

Trajan would say of the vain jealousy of 
princes, that seek to make away those that 
aspire to their succession, that there was never 
king that did put to death his successor. 

Alexander used to sav of his two friends, 

J 7 

Craterus and Hephaestion, that Hephaestion 
loved Alexander, and Craterus loved the kine. 


One of the fathers saith, that there is but 
this difference between the death of old men 
and young men ; that old men go to death, and 
death comes to young men. 

Jason the Thessalian was wont to say, that 
some things must be done unjustly, that many 
things may be done justly. 


Demetrius, king of Macedon, would at times 
retire himself from business, and give himself 
wholly to pleasures. On one of those his re- 
tirings, giving out that he was sick, his father, 
Antigonus, came on the sudden to visit him, 
and met a fair dainty youth coming out of his 
chamber. When Antigonus came in, Deme- 
trius said, "Sir, the fever left me right now." 
Antigonus replied, "I think it was he that I 
met at the door." 

Cato major would say, that wise men learned 
more by fools, than fools by wise men. 

When it was said to Anaxagoras, "The 
Athenians have condemned you to die," he 
replied, "And nature them." 

Alexander, when his father wished him to 
run for the prize of the race of the Olympian 
games (for he was very swift), he answered, 
he would, if he might run with kings. 

Antigonus used often to go disguised, and to 
listen at the tents of his soldiers; and at a time 
heard some that spoke very ill of him. 
Whereupon he opened the tent a little, and said 
to them, "If you would speak ill of me, you 
should go a little farther off. ' ' 

Aristippus said, that those that studied par- 
ticular sciences, and neglected philosophy, 
were like Penelope's wooers, and made love 
to the waiting- women. 


The ambassadors of Asia Minor came to 
Antonius, after he had imposed upon them a 
double tax, and said plainly to him, that if he 
would have two tributes in one year, he must 
give them two seed-times and two harvests. 

An orator of Athens said to Demosthenes, 
"The Athenians will kill you if they wax 
mad." Demosthenes replied, "And they will 
kill you if they be in good sense. " 

Epictetus used to say, that one of the vulgar, 
in any ill that happens to him, blames others; 
a novice in philosophy blames himself; and a 
philosopher blames neither the one nor the 

Cato the elder, what time many of the 
Romans had statues erected in their honor, 
was asked by one, in a kind of wonder, why he 
had none? He answered, he had much rather 
men should ask and wonder why he had no 
statue, than why he had a statue. 

A certain friend of Sir Thomas More, taking 
great pains about a book, which he intended to 
publish (being well conceited of his own wit, 
which no man else thought worthy of com- 
mendation), brought it to Sir Thomas More to 
peruse it, and pass his judgment upon it, which 
he did; and finding nothing therein worthy 
the press, he said to him, with a grave coun- 
tenance, that if it were in verse, it would be 
more worthy. Upon which words, he went 


immediately and turned it into verse, and then 
brought it to Sir Thomas again; who, looking 
thereon, said soberly, "Yes, marry, now it is 
somewhat; for now it is rhyme; whereas be- 
fore, it was neither rhyme nor reason. " 

Sir Henry Wotton used to say, that critics 
were like brushers of noblemen's clothes. 

Phocion the Athenian (a man of great sever- 
ity, and noways flexible to the will of the 
people), one day; when he spake to the people, 
in one part of his speech, was applauded; 
whereupon, he turned to one of his friends, and 
asked, "What have I said amiss?" 

Diogenes was one day in the market-place, 
with a candle in his hand, and being asked 
what he sought, he said, he sought a man. 

Queen Elizabeth was entertained by my 
Lord Burleigh at Theobalds ; and at her going 
away, my lord obtained of the queen to make 
seven knights. They were gentlemen of the 
country, of my lord's friends and neighbors. 
They were placed in a rank, as the queen 
should pass by the hall; and to win antiquity 
of knighthood, in order as my lord favored, 
though, indeed, the more principal gentlemen 
were placed lowest. The queen was told of it, 
and said nothing; but when she went along, 
she passed them all by as far as the screen, as 
if she had forgot it; and when she came to 
the screen, she seemed to take herself with the 


manner, and said, t4 I had almost forgot what I 
promised." With that she turned back, and 
knighted the lowest first, and so upward. 
Whereupon Mr. Stanhope, of the privy 
chamber, a while after told her, "Your 
Majesty was too fine for my Lord Burleigh." 
She answered, lt I have but fulfilled the Scrip- 
ture : the first shall be the last, and the last 

Bion was sailing, and there fell out a great 
tempest, and the mariners that were wicked 
and dissolute fellows called upon the gods ; but 
Bion said to them, "Peace, let them not know 
you are here." 

The Turks made an expedition into Persia ; 
and because of the strait jaws of the moun- 
tains of Armenia, the bashaw consulted which 
way they should get in. One that heard the 
debate said, "Here's much ado how you shall 
get in ; but I hear nobody take care how you 
shall get out." 

Philip, king of Macedon, maintained argu- 
ments with a musican, in points of his art, 
somewhat peremptorily; but the musician said 
to him, "God forbid, sire, your fortune were 
so hard, that you should know these things 
better than myself." 

Pace the fool was not suffered to come at 
Queen Elizabeth, because of his bitter humor. 
Yet at one time, some persuaded the queen 


that he should come to her; undertaking for 
him, that he should keep within compass ; so 
he was brought to her, and the queen said, 
44 come on, Pace, now we shall hear of our 
faults." Saith Pace, 44 I do not use to talk of 
that that all the town talks of." 

After the defeat of Cyrus the younger, Fal- 
inus was sent by the king to the Grecians (who 
had for their part rather victory than other- 
wise), to command them to yield their arms; 
which, when it was denied, Falinus said to 
Clearchus, 44 Well, then, the king lets you 
know, that if you remove from the place where 
you are now encamped, it is war ; if you stay, 
it is truce. What shall I say you will do?" 
Clearchus answered, <4 It please th us, as it 
pleaseth the king." 44 How is that?" saith 
Falinus. Saith Clearchus, * 4 If we remove, war; 
if we stay, truce:" and so would not disclose 
his purpose. 

Nero was wont to say of his master Seneca, 
that his style was like mortar without lime. 

A seaman coming before the judges of the 
Admiralty for admittance into an office of a 
ship bound for the Indies, was by one of the 
judges much slighted, as an insufficient person 
for that office he sought to obtain; the judge 
telling him, that he believed he could not say 
the points of his compass. The seaman 
answered, that he could say them, under favor, 
better than he could say his Paternoster. The 
judge replied, that he would wager twenty shil- 


lings with him upon that. The seaman taking 
him up, it came to trial ; and the seaman began, 
and said all the points of his compass very 
exactly; the judge likewise said his Paternos- 
ter; and when he had finished it, he required 
the wager according to agreement, because the 
seaman was to say his compass better than he 
his Paternoster, which he had not performed. 
44 Nay, I pray sir, hold," quoth the seaman, 
44 the wager is not finished, for I have but half 
done;" and so he immediately said his compass 
backward very exactly ; which the judge failing 
of in his Paternoster, the seaman carried away 
the prize. 

Sir Fulke Grevil had much and private access 
to Queen Elizabeth, which he used honorably, 
and did many men good; yet he would say 
merrily of himself, that he was like Robin 
Goodfellow ; for when the maids spilt the milk 
pans, or kept any racket, they would lay it 
upon Robin : so what tales the ladies about the 
queen told her, or other bad offices that they 
did. they would put it upon him. 

Cato said, the best way to keep good acts in 
memory, was to refresh them with new. 

Aristippus said, he took money of his friends, 
not so much to use it himself, as to teach them 
how to bestow their money. 

A strumpet said to Aristippus, that she was 
with child by him; he answered, 44 You know 
that no more, than if you went through a hedge 


of thorns, you could say, this thorn pricked 

Democritus said, that truth did lie in the 
profound pits, and when it was got, it needed 
much refining. 

Diogenes said of a young man that danced 
daintily, and was much commended, " 'Tis 
better, the worse." 

Diogenes seeing one that was a bastard cast- 
ing stones among the people, bade him take 
heed he hit not his father. 

Plutarch said well, "It is otherwise in a com- 
monwealth of men than of bees; the hive of a 
city or kingdom is in best condition, when 
there is least of noise or buzz in it. ' ' 

The same Plutarch said of men of weak 
abilities set in great place, that they were like 
little statues set on great bases, made to appear 
the less by their advancement. 

He said again, "Good fame is like fire: when 
you have kindled it, you may easily perserve it ; 
but if you once extinguish it, you will not 
easily kindle it again. " 

Queen Elizabeth, seeing Sir Edward in 

her garden, looked out at her window, and 
asked him in Italian, "What does a man think 
of when he thinks of nothing?" Sir Edward 
(who had not had the effect of some of the 
queen's grants so soon as he had hoped and 
desired) paused a little, and then made an- 


swer, "Madame, hethinksof a woman's prom- 
ise/' The queen shrunk in her head, but was 
heard to say, "Well, Sir Edward, I must not 
confute you. Anger makes dull men witty, but 
it keeps them poor." 

When any great officer, ecclesiastical or civil, 
was to be made, the queen would inquire after 
the piety, integrity, and learning of the man. 
And when she was satisfied in these qualifica- 
tions, she would consider of his personage. 
And upon such an occasion she pleased once to 
say to me, " Bacon, how can the magistrate 
maintain his authority when the man is 

In eighty-eight, when the queen went from 
Temple Bar along Fleet Street, the lawyers 
were ranked one side, and the companies 
of the city on the other; said Master Bacon to 
a lawyer that stood next to him, "Do but 
observe the courtiers ; if they bow first to the 
citizens, they are in debt; if first to us, they 
are in law. ' ' 

A Grecian captain advising the confederates 
that were united against the Lacedaemonians, 
touching their enterprise, gave opinion, that 
they should go directly upon Sparta, saying, 
that the state of Sparta was like rivers ; strong 
when they had run a great way, and weak 
toward their head. 

One was examined upon certain scandalous 
words spoken against the king. He confessed 
them, and said, "It is true, I spake them, and 

25 Bacon 


if the wine had not failed, I had said much 

Charles the Bald allowed one whose name 
was Scottus to sit at the table with him for his 
pleasure. Scottus sat on the other side of the 
table. One time the king, being merry with 
him, said to him, "What is there between Scot 
and sot?" Scottus answered, "The table 

There was a marriage made between a widow 
of great wealth and a gentlemen of great house 
that had no estate or means. Jack Roberts 
said that marriage was like a black pudding: 
the one brought blood, and the other brought 
suet and oatmeal. 

Diogenes was asked in a kind of scorn, What 
was the matter that philosophers haunted rich 
men, and not rich men philosophers? He 
answered. "Because the one knew what they 
wanted, the other did not." 

Demetrius, ; King of Macedon, had a petition 
offered him divers times by an old woman, and 
answered, he had no leisure. Whereupon the 
woman said aloud, "Why, then, give over to 
be king?" 

When King Edward the Second was among 
his torturers, who hurried him to and fro, that 
no man should know where he was, they set 
him down upon a bank; and one time, the 
more to disguise his face, shaved him, and 


washed him with cold water of a ditch by. 
The king said, "Well, yet I will have warm 
water for my beard;" and so shed abundance 
of tears. 

King James was wont to be very earnest with 
the country gentlemen to go from London to 
their country houses. And sometimes he 
would say thus to them: "Gentlemen, at Lon- 
don you are like ships at sea, which show like 
nothing; but in your country villages you are 
like ships in a river, which look like great 

Count Gondomar sent a compliment to my 
Lord St. Alban, wishing him a good Easter. 
My lord thanked the messenger, and said he 
could not at present requite the count better 
than in returning him the like ; that he wished 
his lordship a good Passover. 

My Lord Chancelor Elsmere, when he had 
read a petition which he disliked, would say, 
"What, you would have my hand to this now?" 
And the party answering "Yes," he would say 
further, "Well, so you shall; nay, you shall 
have both my hands to it. " And so would, 
with both his hands, tear it in pieces. 

Sir Francis Bacon was wont to say of an 
angry man who suppressed his passion, that he 
thought worse than he spoke ; and of an angry 
man that would chide, that he spoke worse than 
he thought. 


When Mr. Attorney Coke, in the Exchequer, 
gave high words to Sir Francis Bacon, and 
stood much upon the higher place, Sir Francis 
said to him, "Mr. Attorney, the less you speak 
of your own greatness, the more I shall think 
of it; and the more, the less." 

Sir Francis Bacon (who was always for mod- 
erate counsels), when one was speaking of such 
a reformation of the Church of England as 
would in effect make it no church, said thus to 
him; "Sir, the subject we talk of is the eye of 
England, and if there be a speck or two in the 
eye, we endeavor to take them off; but he 
were a strange oculist who would pull out the 

The same Sir Francis Bacon was wont to say, 
that those who left useful studies for useless 
scholastic speculations were like the Olympic 
gamesters, who abstained from necessary 
labors, that they might be fit for such as were 
not so. 

The Lord St. Alban, who was not overhasty 
to raise theories, but proceeded slowly by 
experiments, was wont to say to some philos- 
ophers, who would not go his pace, "Gentle- 
men, nature is a labyrinth, in which the very 
haste you move with will make you lose your 
way. ' ' 

The same lord, when a gentleman seemed 
not much to approve of his liberality to his 


retinue, said to him : ' 4 Sir, I am all of a piece ; 
if the head be lifted up, the inferior parts of 
the body must, too." 

The Lord Bacon was wont to commend the 
advice of the plain old man at Buxton, that sold 
besoms ; a proud, lazy young fellow came to him 
for a besom upon trust ; to whom the old man 
said, " Friend, hast thou no money? Borrow 
of thy back, and borrow of thy belly, they'll 
ne'er ask thee again. I shall be dunning thee 
every day." 

Jack Weeks said of a great man (just then 
dead), who pretended to some religion, but was 
none of the best livers, "Well, I hope he is in 
heaven. Every man thinks as he wishes ; but if 
he be in heaven, 'twere pity it were known." 

His lordship, when he had finished this col- 
lection of apophthegms, concluded thus: 
"Come, now all is well; they say, he is not a 
wise man that will lose his friend for his wit; 
but he is less a wise man that will lose his 
friend for another man's wit." 




Aleator, quanto in arte est melior tanto est 
nequior — A gamester, the greater master he is 
in his art, the worse man he is. 

Arcum, intensio frangit; animum, remissio — 
Much mending breaks the bow ; much unbend- 
ing the mind. 

Bis vincit, qui se vincit in victoria — He con- 
quers twice, who restrains himself in victory. 

Cum vitia prosint, peccat qui recte facit — If 
vices were profitable, the virtuous man would 
be the sinner. 

Bene dormit, qui non sentit quod male dor- 
miat — He sleeps well, who is not conscious that 
he sleeps ill. 

Deliberare utilia, mora est tutissima — To 
deliberate about useful things is the safest 

Dolor decrescit. ubi quo crescat non habet 
— The flood of grief decreaseth, when it can 
swell no higher. 



Etiam innocentes cogit mentiri dolor — Pain 
makes even the innocent man a liar. 

Etiam celeritas in desiderio, mora est — In 
desire, swiftness itself is delay. 

Etiam capillus turns habet umbram suam — 
Even a single hair casts a shadow. 

Fidem qui perdit, quose servat in reliquum? 
— He that has lost his faith, what staff has he 

Formosa facies muta commendatio est — A 
beautiful face is a silent commendation. 

Fortuna nimium quern fovet, stultum facit — 
Fortune makes him fool, whom she makes her 

Fortuna obesse nulli contenta est semel — 
Fortune is not content to do a man one ill turn. 

Facit gratum fortuna, quern nemo videt — 
The fortune which nobody sees makes a man 
happy and unenvied. 

Heu! quam miserum est ab illo laedi, de 
quo non possis queri — Oh ! what a miserable 
thing it is to be injured by those of whom we 
cannot complain. 

Homo toties moritur quoties amittit suos 
— A man dies as often as he loses his friends. 


Haeredis. fletus sub. persona risus est — The 
tears of an heir are laughter under a mask. 

juncundum nihilest, nisi quod reficit vari- 
etas — Nothing is pleasant which is not spiced 
with variety. 

Invidiam ferre, aut fortis, aux felix potest — 
He may be envied, who is either courageous or 


In malis sperare bonum, nisi innocens, nemo 
potest — In adversity, only the virtues can enter- 
tain hope. 

In vindicando, criminosa est celeritas — In 
revenge, haste is criminal. 

In calamitoso risus etiam injuria est — In 
misfortune, even to smile is to offend. 

Improbe Neptunum accusat, qui iterum 
naufragium facit— He accuseth Neptune un- 
justly, who incurs shipwreck a second time. 

Multis minatur, qui uni facit injuriam — He 
that injures one, threatens many. 

Mora omnis ingrata est, sed facit sapientiam 
— All delay is unpleasant, but we are the wiser 
for it. 

Mori est f elicis antequam mortem invocet — 
Happy he who dies ere he calls on death. 


Malus ubi bonum se simulet, tunc est pessi- 
mus — A bad man is worst when he pretends to 
be a saint. 

Magno cum periculo custoditur, quod multis 
placet — Lock and key will scarce keep that 
secure which pleases everybody. 

Male vivunt qui se semper victuros putant — 
They live ill, who think to live forever. 

Male secum agit aeger, medictim qui 
haeredem facit — That sick man does ill for 
himself, who makes his physician his heir. 

Multos timere debet, quern multi timent — 
He of whom many are afraid, ought himself to 
fear many. 

Nulla tam bona est fortuna, de qua nil possis 
queri — There's no fortune so good, but it has 
its alloy. 

Pars beneficii est quod petitur, si bene neges 
— That is half granted which is denied graci- 

Timidus vocat se cautum, parcum sordidus 
— The coward calls himself a cautious man ; and 
the miser says, he is frugal. 

O vita! misero longa, felici brevis — life! 
an age to the miserable, a moment to be 



The following are sentences extracted from 
the writings of Lord Bacon: 

It is a strange desire which men have, to 
seek power and lose liberty. 

Children increase the cares of life: but they 
mitigate the remembrance of death. 

Round dealing is the honor of man's nature ; 
and a mixture of falsehood is like alloy in gold 
and silver, which may make the metal work 
the better, but it debaseth it. 

Death openeth the gate to good fame, and 
extinguisheth envy. 

Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the 
more a man's nature runs to, the more ought 
law to weed it out. 

He that studieth revenge, keepeth his own 
wounds green. 

It was a high speech of Seneca (after the 
manner of the Stoics), that the good things 
which belong to prosperity are to be wished ; 
but the good things which belong to a'dversity 
are to be admired. 

He that cannot see well, let him go softly. 

If a man be thought secret, it inviteth dis- 
covery ; as the more close air sucketh in the 
more open. 


Keep your authority wholly from your chil- 
dren, not so your purse. 

Men of noble birth are noted to be envious 
toward new men when they rise. For the dis- 
tance is altered; and it is like a deceit of the 
eye, that when others come on, they think 
themselves go back. 

As in nature things move more violently to 
their place, and calmly in their place ; so vir- 
tue in ambition is violent ; in authority, settled 
and calm. 

Boldness in civil business, is like pronuncia- 
tion in the orator of Demosthenes; the first, 
second, and third thing. 

Boldness is blind: whereof 'tis ill in counsel, 
but good in execution. For in counsel it is 
good to see dangers, in execution not to see 
them, except they be very great. 

Without good-nature, man is but a better 
kind of vermin. 

God never wrought miracles to convince 
atheism, because his ordinary works convince 

The great atheists indeed are hypocrites, who 
are always handling holy things, but without 
feeling, so as they must needs be cauterized in 
the end. 


The master of superstition is the people. 
And in all superstition, wise men follow fools. 

In removing superstitions, care should be 
had, that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good 
be not taken away with the bad; which com- 
monly is done, when the people is the phy- 

He that goeth into a country before he hath 
some entrance into the language, goeth to 
school, and not to travel. 

It is a miserable state of mind (and yet it is 
commonly the case of kings) to have few 
things to desire, and many to fear. 

Depression of the nobility may make a king 
more absolute, but less safe. 

All precepts concerning kings are, in effect, 
comprehended in these remembrances: Re- 
member thou art a man; remember thou art 
God's vicegerent. The one bridleth their 
power, and the other their will. 

Things will have their first or second agita- 
tion. If they be not tossed upon the arguments 
of counsel, they will be tossed upon the waves 
of fortune. 

The true composition of a counselor, is 
rather to be skilled in his master's business 
than his nature ; for then he is like to advise 
him, and not to feed his humor. 


Fortune sometimes turneth the handle of the 
bottle, which is easy to be taken hold of; and 
after the belly, which is hard to grasp. 

Generally it is good to commit the beginning 
of all great actions to Argus with a hundred 
eyes; and the ends of them to Briareus with a 
hundred hands ; first to watch and then to speed. 

There is a great difference between a cun- 
ning man and a wise man. There be that can 
pack the cards, who yet can't play well; they 
are good in canvasses and factions, and yet 
otherwise mean men. 

Extreme self-lovers will set a man's house on 
fire, though it were but to roast their eggs. 

New things, like strangers, are more ad- 
mired and less favored. 

It were good that men, in their innovations, 
would follow the example of time itself, which 
indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by 
degrees scarce to be perceived. 

They that reverence too much old time, are 
but a scorn to the new. 

The Spaniards and Spartans have been noted 
to be of small dispatch. Mi venga la muerte 
de Spagna — Let my death come from Spain; 
for then it, will be sure to be long a-coming. 

You had better take for business a man 
somewhat absurd, than over-formal. 


Those who want friends to whom to open 
their griefs, are cannibals of their own hearts. 

Number itself importeth not much in armies, 
where the people are of weak courage; for (as 
Virgil says) it never troubles a wolf how many 
the sheep be. 

Let states that aim at greatness, take heed 
how their nobility and gentry multiply too fast. 
In coppice woods, if you leave your staddles 
too thick, you shall never have clean under- 
wood, but shrubs and bushes. 

A civil war is like the heat of a fever ; but a 
foreign war is like the heat of exercise, and 
serveth to keep the body in health. 

Suspicions among thoughts are like bats 
among birds, they ever fly by twilight. 

Base natures, if they find themselves once 
suspected, will never be true. 

Men ought to find the difference between 
saltness and bitterness. Certainly he that 
hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others 
afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of 
others' memory. 

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence. 

Men seem neither well to understand their 
riches, nor their strength ; of the former they 
believe greater things than they should, and 


of the latter much less. And from hence fatal 
pillars have bounded the progress of learning. 

Riches are the baggage of virtue ; they can 
not be spared nor left behind, but they hinder 
the march. 

Great riches have sold more men than ever 
they have bought out. 

He that defers his charity till he is dead, is 
(if a man weighs it rightly) rather liberal of 
another man's than of his own. 

Ambition is like choler; if he can move, it 
makes men active ; if it be stopped, it becomes 
a dust, and makes men melancholy. 

To take a soldier without ambition, is to 
pull off his spurs. 

Some ambitious men seem as screens to 
princes in matters of danger and envy. For 
no man will take such parts, except he be like 
the seel'd dove, that mounts and mounts, be- 
cause he can not see about him. 

Princes and states should choose such minis- 
ters as are more sensible of duty than rising; 
and should discern a € busy nature from a will- 
ing mind. 

A man's nature runs either to herbs or 
weeds; therefore, let him seasonably water the 
one, and destroy the other. 


If a man look sharp and attentively, he 
shall see fortune; for though she be blind, 
she is not invisible. 

Usury bringeth the treasure of the realm or 
state into a few hands; for the usurer being at 
certainties, and the others at uncertainties; at 
the end of the game most of the money will be 
in the box. 

Beauty is best in a body that hath rather 
dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. 
The beautiful prove accomplished, but not of 
great spirit; and study, for the most part, 
rather behavior than virtue. 

The best part of beauty, is that which a pic- 
ture cannot express. 

He who builds a fair house upon an ill seat, 
commits himself to prison. 

If you would work on any man, you must 
either know his nature and fashions, and so 
lead him ; or his ends, and so persuade him ; or 
his weaknesses and disadvantages, and so awe 
him ; or those that have interest in him, and 
so govern him. 

Costly followers (among whom we may reck- 
on those who are importunate in suits) are not 
to be liked; lest while a man maketh his train 
longer, he maketh his wings shorter. 

Fame is like a river, that beareth up things 
light and swollen, and drowns things weighty 
and solid. 


Seneca saith well, that anger is like rain, 
that breaks itself upon that it falls. 

Excusations, cessions, modesty itself well 
governed, are but arts of ostentation. 

High treason is not written in ice; that 
when the body relenteth, the impression 
should go away. 

me best governments are always subject to 
be like the fairest crystals, when every icicle 
or grain is seen, which in a fouler stone is 
never perceived. 

In great places ask counsel of both times- 
of the ancient time what is best, and of the 
latter time what is fittest. 

The virtue of prosperity is temperance, of 
adversity fortitude, which in morals is the 
more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the bless- 
ing of the Old Testament, adversity the bless- 
ing of the New, which carrieth the greater 
benediction and the clearer revelation of God's 

28 Bacon 





Abbe Constantin Halevy 

Adventures of a Brownie. ..Muiock 

All Aboard Optic 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 


An Attic Philosopher in Paris 

Sou vestre 

Autobiography of Benjamin 


Autocrat of the Breakfast Table 


Bacon's Essays Bacon 

Barrack Room Ballads. . .Kipling 
Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush 


Black Beauty Sewall 

Blithedale Romance. .Hawthorne 

Boat Ci ub Optic 

Bracebridge Hall , Irving- 
Brooks' Addresses 

Browning's Poems Browning 

Chiide Harold's Pilgrimage 


Child's History of England 


Cranf ord Gaskell 

Crown of Wild Olives Buskin 

Daily Food for Christians 

Departmental Ditties. .. .Kipling 

Dolly Dialogues Hope 

Dream Life Mitchell 

Drummond' s Addresses 


Emerson's Essays, Vol. 1 


Emerson's Essays^ Vol. 2 


Ethics of the Dust ..Ruskin 

Evangeline Longfellow 

Flower Fables A_lcott 

Gold Dust Yonge 

Heroes and Hero Worship. Carlyle 

Hiawatha Longfellow 

House of Seven Gables 


House of the Wolf Weyman 

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow 


Idylls of the King Tennyson 

Imitation of Christ 

Thos. a'Kempis 

In Memoriam Tennyson 

John Halifax Muiock 

Kept for the Master's Use 


Kidnapped Stevenson 

King of the Golden River.. Ruskin 


Lady of the Lake Scott 

Lalla Rookh Moore 

Let Us Follow Him.. .Sienkiewicz 
Light of Asia .^ Arnold 

78. Light That Failed. . . .Kipling 

79. Locksley Hall Tennyson 

80. Longfellow's Poems 


81. Lorna Doone Blackmore 

82. Lowell's Poems Lowell 

83. Lucile Meredith 

88. Marmion Scott 

89. Mosses from an Old Manse 


93. Natural Law in the Spiritual 

World Drummond 

94. Now or Never Optic 

97. Paradise Lost Milton 

98. Paul and Virginia 

Saint Pierre 

99. Pilgrim's Progress Bunyan 

100. Plain Tales fr- _u the Hills 


101. Pleasures ^f Life Lubbock 

102. Prince of the House of David 


103. Princess Tennyson 

104. Prueand I Curtis 

107. Queen of the Air Ruskin 

110. Rab and His Friends. ..Brown 

111. Representative Men . . Emerson 

112. Reveries of a Bachelor 


113. Rollo in Geneva Abbott 

114. Rollo in Holland Abbott 

115. Rollo in London Abbott 

118. Rollo in Naples Abbott 

li7. Roilo in Paris Abbott 

118. Rollo in Rome Abbott 

119. Rollo in Scotland Abbott 

120. Rollo in Switzerland. . .Abbott 

121. Rollo on the Atlantic. ..Abbott 

122. Rollo on the Rhine Abbott 

123. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 


128. Sartor Resartus Carlyle 

129. Scarlet Letter Hawthorne 

180 Sesame and Lilies Ruskin 

131. Sign of the Four Doyle 

132. Sketch Book Irving 

133. Stickit Minister Crockett 

140. Tales from Shakespeare 

C. and Mary Lamb 

141. Tanglewood Tales. .Hawthorne 

142. True and Beautiful Ruskin 

143. Three Men in a Boat. .Jerome 

144. Through the Looking Glass 

Carrol J 

145. Treasure Island Stevenson 

146. Twice Told Tales. .Hawthorne 

150. Uncle Tom's Cabin Stowe 

154. Vicar of Wakefield. .Goldsmith 

158. Whittier's Poems Whittier 

159. Wide, Wide World Warner 

160. Window in Thrums Barrie 

161. Wonder Book Hawthorne 

C 94 8 9 1« 

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